Found in the East End of London, jellied eels have a somewhat forbidding reputation – some people find them to be just a bit much. I’d like to redo them: instead of cooking them in stock and allowing the natural gelatine in the bones to set the stock around them, I’m going to use smoked eel and garnish it with a horseradish jelly and some fresh sea vegetables. The cider vinegar in the jelly combined with the horseradish contrasts nicely with the richness of the eel. You should be able to get smoked eel from any good fishmonger or online from Forman & Field.
200g smoked eel
1 inch piece horseradish
50g crème fraiche
3 tablespoons olive oil
Few sprigs dill
for the horseradish jelly:
2 inch piece horseradish, grated
300ml cider vinegar
2 sheets gelatine
To make the jelly, soak the gelatine in cold water until soft (for about 10 minutes).
In a small pan, heat the vinegar and horseradish until almost boiling, then add the sugar to dissolve. This will only take a minute.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the gelatine and stir it in to melt.
Strain the jelly mix through a fine sieve and place the liquid in a small bowl in the fridge to set.
To serve, slice the eel approximately ½ cm thick, and scatter on a plate, about 8 slices per dish. Add a couple of 5p-sized blobs of crème fraiche around, then add 7-8 stalks of samphire, again scattered around, and finish with 6 or so penny-sized blobs of jelly. Drizzle a little olive oil and a final grating of fresh horseradish over the whole dish. Then you’re good to go.
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