Eel Cooking Tips
Eels are a type of fish with a snakelike body and a smooth texture and are found in fresh water bodies. The meat of this fish has a good flavor and is popular in Japan and also many other countries in Asia. Eels are killed by putting them in a container and sprinkling some salt and leaving them for two hours during which they lose about 5 percent of their weight.
Further to this, they should be washed thoroughly in cold water for about half an hour and then scrapped to remove the traces of slime. When you want to smoke eels, you may also have to scrub the skin. Slit the belly for about 25 mm and remove the kidneys. Scrub the gut and wash it to remove the blood from the backbone and throat and rinse again thoroughly. You can use sawdust or salt to get a grip.
After cleaning, you can deep-freeze the eels and store them like any other fish at a temperature less than minus 30° C. Glaze the fish and seal it suitably. Do not store them without gutting as the blood will discolor their flesh. If properly stored, you can preserve them for at least 6 months.
Eels are generally hot-smoked for consuming after they are immersed in 80° brine for approximately 10 minutes. For one liter of water, you can use 275 g salt to get a good taste. Heavy salting would give a good shelf life but may result in bringing white spots on the fish skin while you smoke it later. You can also use thawed eels for the smoking purpose.
To smoke the eels, insert 6mm rods through the throat of eels and open out the belly by placing small sticks so that the smoke can enter the cavity in the belly. You need to smoke the eels for about 1 hour at a temperature of 35°C and then continue at 49°C for another 1/2 hour and further for another one hour at 77°C, this would result in uniform drying and prevent hardening.
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