East End Eels
An East End of London dish traditionally served in Pie and Mash shops like Manzes near Tower Bridge. This recipe substitutes the normally used silver eels for conger eel.
Where Do We Get Eels?
Jellied eels production uses farmed silver eels mainly from Holland. Traps along the River Thames and its tributaries like the Fleet or the Lea would have been the source historically.
Silver eels have a long and fascinating life cycle involving a double migration from the Sargasso Sea across the Atlantic to Europe and back again. Silver eels caught in UK waters must be returned as they are critically endangered.
Conger eels can grow up to 12 feet in length and weigh upwards of 300 pounds. Big eels like this, however, would not be suitable for eating as the flesh would be far too tough. If taking a conger eel for the pot when fishing, you would only want to consider a smaller eel (sometimes called strap conger eel), ensuring they are more than 36 inches (91cm) in length to comply with current minimum catch size regulations.
courtesy of Gordon Hamilton – delishably.com
Freshwater or silver eels when poached produce a liquor which when reduced sets to a jelly. Conger eels seem to produce less of the setting agent when cooked so this is supplemented in the recipe with gelatin.
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Recipe – Jellied Conger Eel
Jellied Conger Eel
- 4 Conger eel steaks
- 1 tbsp Sea salt
- 1 stick Celery chopped
- 1 Carrot chopped
- ½ Onion chopped
- ½ Lime
- 4 tbsp Malt Vinegar
- ½ tsp Sea salt
- ½ tsp Freshly ground black pepper
- 750 ml Water
For the jelly
- 2 leaves Gelatine
- Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, reduce to a simmer and very gently blanch the eel steaks for a couple of minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard the water.
- In a large pan of salted water, add the eel steaks and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat and gently simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the eel steaks with a slotted spoon, set aside and allow to cool. Strain the cooking licquor into a separate pan and also allow to cool.
- While the licquor is still warm prepare the gelatine leaves using the pack instructions and dissolve in the licquor, warming if necessary. Allow to cool but not to set.
- Place the eel steaks into a serving bowl and pour over the licquor. Place in the fridge to set.