4 - 6 servings
How to cook English Eel Pie
- 3 pounds eel, cleaned and cut crosswise into 2-inch slices
- 1 small onion, peeled and cut into quarters, plus 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
- 4 small bay leaves
- 4 parsley sprigs plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup pale dry sherry
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 hard-cooked eggs, quartered
- Rough puff pastry (see the recipe below)
- 1 egg yolk combined with 1 tablespoon heavy cream
Rough Puff Pastry Ingredients:
- In a heavy 3- to 4-quart saucepan combine the eel, quartered onion, bay leaves and parsley sprigs, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pan, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the eel is firm to the touch. Do not overcook.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the eel to a plate and strain the stock through a fine sieve into a bowl. Discard the vegetables. When the eel is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and cut the flesh away from the bones. Spread the pieces side by side in a 6x6x2-inch casserole or baking dish and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a heavy 8- to 10-inch skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over moderate heat. When the foam begins to subside, add the sliced onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until the slices are soft and transparent but not brown. Add the sherry, chopped parsley, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and salt, and set aside off the heat.
- In another 8- to 10-inch skillet, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over moderate heat. When the foam begins to subside, stir in the flour and mix thoroughly. Pour in 2 cups of the reserved eel stock and, stirring constantly with a whisk, cook over high heat until the sauce thickens heavily and comes to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 3 minutes to remove any taste of raw flour. Then add the lemon juice and the reserved onion-sherry mixture. Taste for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the eel slices, arrange the quartered eggs on top, and let the sauce cool to room temperature.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a rough square about ¼ inch thick. Drape the pastry over the rolling pin, lift it up and unfold it over the baking dish.
- Trim off the excess with a small, sharp knife and, with the tines of a fork or your fingers, crimp the pastry to secure it to the rim of the dish. Gather the scraps of pastry into a ball, re-roll and cut them into simple leaf and flower shapes.
- Moisten their bottom sides lightly with the egg yolk- and-cream mixture, and arrange them decoratively on the pie. Then brush the entire pastry surface with the remaining egg-yolk-and-cream mixture and cut 3 parallel 1-inches slits ½ inch apart in the top.
- Bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F and bake for 30 minutes longer, or until the top is golden brown. Serve at once.
How to cook Rough Puff Pastry
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, thoroughly chilled and cut into 1/4-inch bits
- 1/4 cup lard, thoroughly chilled and cut into 1/4-inch bits
- 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
Sift the flour and salt together into a large chilled mixing bowl. Drop in the butter and lard and, working quickly, use your fingertips to rub the flour and fat together until the mixture looks like flakes of coarse meal. Pour 4 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture all at once, and gather the dough into a ball.
- If the dough crumbles, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the particles adhere. Dust lightly with flour, wrap the dough in wax paper and chill for 30 minutes.
- Place the pastry on a lightly floured board or table, and press it into a rectangular shape about 1 inch thick. Dust a little flour over and under it, and roll it out into a strip about 21 inches long and 6 inches wide. Fold the strip into thirds to form a 3-layered rectangular packet, reducing its dimensions to about 7 by 6 inches.
- Turn the pastry around so that an open end faces you and roll it out once more to a 21-by-6-inch strip. Fold it into thirds as before and roll it out again to a similar strip. Repeat this entire process twice more, ending with the pastry folded into a packet.
- Wrap the pastry tightly in wax paper, foil or a plastic bag, and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour. The pastry may be kept in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days before it is used.
Baked Eel Pie Recipe - An oven recipe using eel, onion, bay leaves and parsley sprigs, sherry, chopped parsley, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and salt, lemon juice, puff pastry, egg yolk and heavy cream.
Eel meat is quite firm with a high fat content and full-bodied, distinctive flavor. The raw flesh is gray but turns lighter when cooked, and it has a small, fine flake.
This recipe for English Eel Pie serves/makes: 4 - 6 servings
Main Ingredient: Eel
Preparation Method: Baked