Marinated Eels


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

In the many ditches, rivers and slow-moving streams of the Tuscan plains, eels are caught and turned into delicious, simple dishes for the table. This is a very old recipe from the Pisa area, and is served cold as part of an antipasto. After 48 hours in the marinade, the strong, slightly muddy flavour of the eel is much reduced and the vinegar acts as a good foil to the natural oiliness of the fish.


  • 900 g/2 lb very fresh eels
  • coarse sea salt, for cleaning
  • 150 ml/¼ pint/ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 300 ml/½ pint/¼ cups white wine vinegar
  • sea salt


  1. Clean the outside of the eels carefully to remove all trace of slime, using coarse sea salt or gritty wood ash. Split and gut them, then wash and dry them all over. Cut them into finger-length chunks.

  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the eel chunks until golden brown all over. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Place in a bowl to cool.
  3. Using the same oil, fry the garlic, chilli, sage and rosemary together for 3 minutes.

  4. Add the white wine vinegar to the frying pan and then boil to reduce by about one-third. Season with salt.
  5. Pour this marinade over the eels and cover the bowl. Leave to marinate for about 48 hours before serving.