Fusilli with Smoked Eel and Celeriac

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This pasta dish is quick and easy enough to serve for a weekday meal, and special and delicious enough for a dinner party. It takes less than half an hour to prepare, and only a few ingredients are required. The combination of smoked eel and celeriac is a classic one in the Netherlands, and in this dish they go together very well indeed. Fusilli are an ideal pasta shape for this, as the coils of the pasta ‘absorb’ the creamy eel. The roasted celeric adds texture and another layer of flavor. The only problem may be the availability of the ingredients if you are not located in the Netherlands. (Here smoked eel and celeric are available in every supermarket.)

Ingredients

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For 2 servings

150 grams (1/3 lb) fusilli pasta

200 grams (7 oz) smoked eel fillets

400 grams (.9 lb) celeriac (cleaned)

1 Tbsp minced celery leaves

freshly ground black pepper

salt

celery salt (optional)

2 Tbsp olive oil

Preparation

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Preheat the oven to 225ºC/440ºF (fan forced). While the oven is preheating, peel the celeriac and cut it into 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes. Toss the cubed celeriac with the olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer. Roast the celeriac at 225ºC/440ºF (fan forced) until golden, about 20 minutes.

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Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the fusilli, and set the timer according to the package instructions for al dente.

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Roughly chop the eel, reserving some nice pieces for garnish. Transfer the chopped eel to the food processor…

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…and process to obtain a smoked eel puree.

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Spread out the eel puree in a non-stick frying pan in a thin layer over low heat. The smoked eel should be warmed up somewhat without heating it too much, as we don’t want it to melt. Turn off the heat if necessary.

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When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the eel.

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Season with freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle with half of the minced celery leaves.

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Toss until the fusilli have ‘absorbed’ the eel.

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If you timed everything perfectly, the celeriac should be roasted by now. Season it with salt. If you can find it, use celery salt (dried celery mixed with salt, selderijzout in Dutch) for additional flavor.

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Arrange the fusilli on preheated plates. Top with the roasted celeriac, and garnish with the remaining minced celery and reserved pieces of smoked eel. Serve at once.

Wine pairing

This pairs well with an oaked buttery white, such as a chardonnay.

Flashback

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Pasta with roasted cauliflower and fat from beef stock is a very simple but amazingly delicious recipe that I discovered mostly by accident. If you make beef stock from scratch and allow it to cool, a layer of solid fat will form on the top. Don’t discard this, as it has a lot of flavor.

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4 thoughts on “Fusilli with Smoked Eel and Celeriac

  1. This pasta looks tasty!! I’ve never tired eel before and I will admit I find it slightly intimidating to me. Eel isn’t something you can easily find here. How exactly would you describe it’s flavor to a Texan?? I like that this pasta was made with smoked eel that seems less intimidating. Besides we will eat just about anything that’s been smoked here in Texas 🙂

    Like

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