Rowley Leigh’s Smoked Eel and Bacon Salad

Smoked Eel Close

Simon Hopkinson’s ‘Week In Week Out‘ is a strong contender for the title of ‘my favourite cookbook ever’. He makes use of so many ingredients I adore, with recipes that make my heart skip a beat and my thighs quiver in fear every time I look at them. A book for the calorie counter it ain’t. Or the vegetarian. The squeamish can also forget it, as Simon is a huge advocate of nose to tail eating.

I love this salad recipe from the book because I can’t get enough of that rich, oily eel.

Rowley Leigh’s Smoked Eel and Bacon Salad (serves 4)
(from ‘Week in Week Out’ by Simon Hopkinson)

1 small salad frisee (the inside, yellow bits). I used curly endive
A squeeze of lemon juice and a tiny splash of light olive oil to dress the above
Salt and pepper
200g smoked eel fillets, sliced very lengthways as thinly as possible
8 rashers of smoked, streaky bacon, grilled until crisp
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped chives

For the beurre blanc
2 shallots, very finely chopped
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons white wine
4 tablespoons water
250g very cold, fine quality unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

- Make the beurre blanc: using a small stainless steel or enamelled pan, combine shallots, vinegar, wine and water. Reduce over a very moderate heat until almost no liquid is left. Then, reduce the heat to as low as possible and add the butter one chunk at a time (using a small whisk), until it is all incorporated. It should look like light, slightly jellied custard. Season and keep somewhere warm (but not actually on the heat).
– Separate frisee into thin leaves and dress with the lemon juice, oil and seasoning. Arrange evenly on the plate as a base for the salad.
– Arrange the eel strips on top, the bacon bits around the edge and then spoon the beurre blanc ‘in and around’. Garnish with the chopped chives.

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13 thoughts on “Rowley Leigh’s Smoked Eel and Bacon Salad

  1. I need to try eel again. I had a bad experience with jellied eels in a dodgy pie and mash shop on the Goldhawk Road a few years ago and thought that eels made me wretch.

    From your photo I can see these eels are quite different from the ones I bought so I will keep an eye out for them.

    Ross last blog post..I Can’t Believe It

  2. I love smoked eel, we usually have it at Christmas as it’s rather indulgent. This sounds like a nice simple recipe to really let the eel shine through; the lasagne I made recently was derived from a Rowley Leigh recipe and it really impressed me.

    Lizzies last blog post..Intermission

  3. Years ago my uncle used to come down from London (on the train!) with a huge bucket of live eels that he then transfered into our bath until we were ready to cook them for a huge christmas eve family meal. Peering over the side of the bath as a four year old has created an lasting image that has seriously put me off eels for life!

    The Graphic Foodies last blog post..REVIEW: The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

  4. I haven’t had smoked eel for ages, I’m not sure if I’ve ever had it at home actually. I really do like it though and this looks great.

    We had a Gruner Veltliner with our Thai dish on Sunday and it stood up very well to that, I can imagine it with smoky fish too.

    Keris last blog post..Rabbit and Leek Pie

  5. Sounds a great recipe. Smoked eel and beetroot are sooo good together and I can imagine them going really well with Gruner Veltliner (Riesling too).

    Very good tasting note btw. Yes, flowery is a perfectly acceptable wine tasting term though Gruner is often likened to green pepper and grapefruit. You’ll be doing us wine hacks out of a job in no time ;-)

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