Pickled Eels

This dish is a favorite in Northern Europe, from the British Isles to Sweden.

Clean and skin the eels and cut them into pieces about 3/4-inch thick. Wash and drain the pieces, then dredge in fine salt and allow to stand from 30 minutes to 1 hour.  Rinse off the salt, wipe the pieces dry, and rub them with a cut glove of garlic.  Brush the eel with melted butter and broil until both sides are light brown.  As an alternative, pieces may be sautéd in olive oil or other good salad oil.

Place the pieces of cooked eel on absorbent paper.  When the pieces are cool, pack them in layers in a crock with a scattering of sliced onion, allspice, bay leaves, mustard seed, whole cloves, peppers, and mace between the layers of fish.

Weight the mixture down to keep it compressed.  Cover the fish with a cold vinegar sauce made of vinegar, water, onions, and a few bay leaves cooked for 15 to 20 minutes.

After standing for 48 hours in a cool place pack the eels in glass tumblers with a thin slice of lemon, a bay leaf, a slice of onion, and a few fresh whole spices for decoration.  Fill the tumblers with sauce used in curing, which have been filtered.  Seal the containers immediately.  Store in a cool, dry place.  This article remains in good condition for considerable period of time.

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He that holds fast the golden mean, And lives contentedly between, The little and the great, Feels not the wants that pinch the poor, Nor plagues that haunt the rich man’s door, Embittering all his state.

— Cowper