Grilled PEI Eels, Oriental Style
As promised, here are photos and the recipe for grilled PEI eels. They have been on the February supper menu as an appetizer and have been selling well! We’ll see the end of the eel at month’s end as spearing season is over. I prepare them (more or less) as you would enjoy them in Japan, with a rich, sweet kabayaki sauce. (Recipe for sauce below.)
Step 1: This assumes you have some eel. The eel should be skinned and gutted, with the head removed. You will need to remove the spine. To do this, insert the blade of a sharp knife under the spine. Run the blade along the underside of the spine from the head of the eel toward the tail. (Where the head used to be toward where the tail used to be–they are long gone.) It may help release the spine to make lateral cuts along the sides of the spine down the length of the eel prior to running the blade under.
Step 2: Once the spine has been removed, cut the flesh into uniform 4 inch pieces.
Step 3: Skewer the eel fillets. (This keeps them from curling during the cooking process and makes them easy to handle.)
Step 4: Steam skewered eel in a bamboo steamer for 20 minutes. (Put steamer lid on top first!) Check the water level in the wok occasionally and add more water if necessary to make sure it doesn’t run dry.
Step 5: Remove eel from steamer. Grill eel skewers under a broiler (toaster oven is good for this) or on a grill, liberally applying kabayaki sauce, until desired carmelized exterior has been achieved.
Eel is often eaten on a bed of rice, but it is delicious atop a salad or by itself!
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
1/4 cup white sugar
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. On the stovetop, bring the sauce to a boil. Let boil for approximately 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Cool and pour into squeeze bottle.