Are you looking to spice up the kitchen? If yes, there is a variety of exotic and even luxurious animal fleshes used to create a combination of specialty dishes. This flesh is all available in local stores. On another hand, are you an avid fan of fish and seafood and want to branch out to other types?
If you answer yes to either of the questions or both of the questions, then trying out eel might just be up your palette. I understand how it can be a daunting task to try out something new. That being said, I give you a detailed answer to the question what does eel taste like plus some additional tips and tricks!
What is Eel?
Of course, for you to be able to gain an in-depth understanding of eel, allow me to break down the basics first. So, what is an eel in the first place?
In all honesty, eel does not look like a typical fish due to its relatively strange and weird appearance. This is because the length of eels is elongated. Usually, the sizes of eel range are in between the range of 2 to 4 inches. Typically, they are also slimy and scaly in texture. As a result, their appearance resembles that of a snake. This, in turn, makes people not consider eel a usual dish.
Moreover, eel fishes further come in two types. The most common types are saltwater eels and freshwater eels. Generally, freshwater eels come with skins and flesh that are relatively tougher as compared to the saltwater ones. As a result, the freshwater eels also tend to go with cheaper and less hefty price tags.
What does Eel Taste Like?
Just like a number of other dishes, the taste of eel will always largely depend on what dish it will be used to create. Typically, however, the texture of eel can resemble that of-of a salmon. Except that the texture of eels is just a bit firmer.
However, it still goes without saying that the final taste of eel ultimately depends on how it is going to be served. This is because the sauces in which you will probably dip your eel into or the spices you will cook your eel with determines the overall taste of your eel dish. This also happens because eel just tends to soak up whatever flavor you may want.
Another contributing factor to the taste is the main method used itself. You can either opt to fry your eel with the use of breadcrumbs. If that is the case, you will be left with eels that have somehow a rough texture. You can also choose to smoke them which leaves eel with a smokey taste.
What are Different Eel Dishes?
As stated, eels taste different from each other depending on the dish. Below are the different and most common dishes:
Eel Nigiri or Sushi
This dish is also considered one of my top faves. This one is basically the typical nigiri you see. However, instead of featuring salmon, it features eel as its main seafood. It is basically just a couple of rice balled up together with piece of eel on top. One reason why this combo works so well is the plain flavor of rice complements the flavorful taste of eel.
Eel Crackers or Hone Senbei
If you are planning on having one of the time of your lives and partying till the wee hours of midnight, then this dish may be right up your alley. This is because typically salty eel crackers taste really well with the strong taste of alcohol drinks making them a real perfect match. To create this dish, you just basically deep fry the eels until they turn crunchy.
Grilled Eel or Kabayaki
Kabayaki which means grilled eel with soy sauce is one of the best dishes you can serve at dinner. Grilling always tends to bring out the flavor, after all. To make this dish, you first have to debone the fish and fillet before slicing it into butterfly cuts. After you are done with this, just skewer then proceed to grill.
What are Different Eel Dishes Based on Method?
Let us move onto another factor that determines that taste and flavor of eel dishes.
This type of method makes one of the easiest dishes to eat. This is because, through filleting, you are able to remove the backbone of the eel and allows you to cook it however you want to.
From the name and word itself, the jellied method of cooking is used to create jelly-like stocks. The process of the jellied method entails submerging eels in boiling water and utilizing their own juices so as to come up with the stock.
This method of cooking is primarily for sushi or nigiri types. Yes, you heard it right. Eels used in sushi dishes are not raw but baked. Using raw eel is really not advisable.
What are the Health Benefits of Eel?
Now that you have read about the different taste and flavors of eel depending on various factors, allow me to discuss briefly the different health benefits that eels can offer. This, in addition to the robust taste and exotic flavor of eel, might just push you to try it.
Eels are probably one of the food that offers a balanced amount of nutrients. It is high in vitamins, minerals, protein, calcium and even in unsaturated fat. It is like having one full balanced meal with this.
Eel generally looks strange. Many cooks and people tend to shy away from eating it because of the appearance. However, if you look past it and focus on the flavor, you will be blessed with an exotic dish that is sure to level up your mealtimes with loved ones. As stated, taste of eel depends on the dish and method of cooking used. Overall, one thing remains the same and that is the robust flavor of eel and health benefits it offers.
Hope that you can find the answer for yourself through this post. If you find it helful, feel free to share it to your friends and don’t be hesitate to leave comment below to share with us your experience.