Smoked Eel, Carrot and Chamomile

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    9

Appears in

Bistronomy

By Katrina Meynink

Published 2014

  • About

You will need to begin this recipe one day ahead.

Ingredients

  • 40 g ( oz) dried chamomile flowers (looseleaf tea)
  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) milk
  • 10 g (¼ oz) agar-agar
  • 5 g ( oz) salt
  • 4 large celery stalks, rinsed, lightly peeled, sliced 1 cm (½ inch) thick
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) apple juice
  • 4 large carrots, juiced
  • 150 g ( oz) brioche, roughly torn
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 smoked eels, 700 g (1 lb 9 oz) each, skinned, backbone discarded
  • black lava salt
  • chickpea cress leaves, to serve

Method

Put the chamomile and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a soft boil then remove from the heat. Cover and allow the flavours to infuse overnight in the refrigerator. Strain the milk into a clean saucepan, add the agar-agar and salt and place over low heat. Bring the milk to 90°C (195°F), whisking constantly until the ingredients are incorporated. Pour the mixture into a tray and allow to cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour. When set, transfer to a blender and blend until the mixture resembles thick cream, then set aside.

Place the celery pieces in a tight-fitting container. Cover with the apple juice and set aside.

Strain the carrot juice into a saucepan and simmer over low heat until the juice is reduced by half and a silky texture is achieved. Stir regularly to ensure the mixture doesn’t catch. Set aside.

To make the brioche crumbs, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Place the torn brioche on a baking tray and bake until lightly toasted (4–5 minutes). Reduce the heat to 90°C (195°F/Gas ½) and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the bread has dried out. Set aside to cool then process in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Put the crumbs in a frying pan with the olive oil and fry over medium heat until golden. Set aside.

To serve, drizzle the carrot reduction over a plate, add dollops of chamomile cream and pieces of celery. Warm the eel in the oven, cut it into bite-size pieces and place them on the plate. Season with black lava salt then add a light sprinkling of brioche crumbs and some chickpea cress.