• Elvers, silvery eel fry
  • flour and deep-fried
  • 225 g/8 oz elvers
  • layer of olive oil
  • a sliced clove of garlic


Elvers, silvery eel fry, are a rarely obtainable delicacy in this country for all but the lucky few living near a source such as the estuary of the River Severn. Even so, the cost is high, although redeemed by their richness – a little will go a long way.

They need only the briefest of cooking, dusted with flour and deep-fried like whitebait or cooked ‘a la bilbaína’ as they do in Spain.

For four people, you will need around 225 g/8 oz elvers. Rinse and dry on kitchen paper or a clean tea towel. In a frying pan large enough to hold all the elvers, heat an even layer of olive oil with a halved dried red chilli, and a sliced clove of garlic. Infuse over a moderate heat for 5 minutes or so, then remove the chilli and garlic. Increase the heat, and add the elvers. Season generously with salt and pepper, and stir. Within seconds the elvers will turn white, and are ready to serve, with good crusty bread to mop up the juices.