|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 45g||58%|
|Saturated Fat 7g||36%|
|Total Carbohydrate 21g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||14%|
|Total Sugars 6g|
|Vitamin C 75mg||376%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Eel is a traditional part of a seafood-centric Christmas Eve dinner (La Vigilia di Natale) in many parts of Italy, particularly in the southern Italian town of Naples and often makes an appearance as part of the Italian-American Feast of the Seven Fishes as well. According to religious tradition, it was forbidden to eat meat on this night, leading to elaborate feasts featuring many types of fish and seafood.
It can be prepared roasted, grilled, or fried. This recipe covers grilling and frying, while the recipe for roast eel (capitone arrosto), another traditional Italian Christmas Eve dish, is also on this site.
Eel meat is oilier than that of many other fish and is consequently ideally suited to the grill, though it also fries well.
2 1/2 pounds (1 kilogram) eel
3 cloves garlic
1/2 bay leaf per piece of eel
Dash of fine sea salt, to taste
Dash of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for basting
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Additional Ingredients for Fried Eel:
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying
Lemon wedges, for serving
Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Prep the Eel
Cut the eel into pieces about 3 inches (7 centimeters long). Rinse them with running water and dry them well.
Crush the garlic cloves slightly with the flat side of a chef's knife, peel them, and cut them in half crosswise.
Rub the surfaces of each piece of fish with the cut side of the garlic cloves.
To Make Grilled Eel
Arrange the pieces on metal grilling skewers, alternating each piece with a bay leaf half.
Season the skewers with salt, pepper, and drizzles of the olive oil and vinegar. Let them sit to marinate for at least 1 hour.
Grill the pieces over a medium flame for about 30 minutes, turning them frequently and basting them with additional olive oil.
To Make Fried Eel
Season the pieces with salt, pepper, and drizzles of the olive oil and vinegar and dot them with small pieces of bay leaf.
Let them sit to marinate for at least 1 hour.
Dredge the fish in flour, shaking gently to remove any excess flour, and fry the pieces in moderately hot oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, until they are crisp and golden-brown on the outside.
Drain the eel well on paper towel and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with fresh lemon wedges.
- Suggested wine pairings: A Greco di Tufo white wine from the Campania region, or any other crisp, dry white wine.