Conger Eel Stew

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    3 to 4

Appears in

Floyd on Britain & Ireland

By Keith Floyd

Published 1988

  • About

For this recipe a cut of conger eel from just behind the gut cavity is best, as this gives even, round ‘steaks’. The conger is studded with slivers of garlic and wrapped in caul fat, which gives the fish a wonderful smooth moistness. The problem, of course, is getting caul fat – you need a good butcher. If you can get hold of it, buy plenty: it freezes well and you can use it for lining pátés and as a casing for faggots. To make the caul manageable, put it in a bowl of warm water to which you have added a little vinegar. If you can’t obtain caul, wrap 4 rashers of streaky bacon around the conger and secure them with string.

Ingredients

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • lb (1.25 kg) section of conger eel, skinned
  • Caul fat or 4 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 4 oz (125 g) carrots
  • 4 oz (125 g) celery
  • 2 oz (50 g) butter
  • 4 oz (125 g) button onions
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 8, 450°F (230°C). Slice 2 of the cloves of garlic thinly, make incisions all over the fish and insert the garlic slivers. Wrap the fish in the caul fat or tie the bacon around it.

Chop the carrots and celery into 1½ × ½ in. (3 × 1 cm) pieces. Melt the butter in a heavy casserole, add the carrots, celery, onions, and the rest of the garlic and stew gently for 20 minutes or so with the lid on. Now add the conger, roll around in the butter and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and cook with the lid on for 20 minutes. Baste the fish with the butter twice during that time.

After 20 minutes, baste once more and remove the lid. Cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid off. Serve up like a joint of meat on a large oval dish, surrounded by the vegetables and with the juice poured all around. Carve it lengthways in long slices.