Celeriac Ravioli with Eel Tomato Sauce

Obtaining fresh seafood on a holiday is always problematic, but I wanted to serve seafood for at least one of the courses of the Christmas menu anyway. I’ve done lobster in the past, which you can keep alive in your refrigerator. Then I thought of eel. In Italy eel is prepared for New Year’s eve to ward off evil, so it is traditional for the holiday season. When I saw live eel at the fishmonger’s, my problem was solved. Continue reading “Celeriac Ravioli with Eel Tomato Sauce”

Eel in Tomato Sauce (Anguilla in Umido)

Eel is caught locally in the area where we live and we love smoked eel. Eel is also available fresh to be used for stewing, but I don’t care much for the Dutch/Flemish preparations. My curiosity was piqued though when I saw a post by ChgoJohn on eel stewed in tomato sauce Italian style (or to be more precise, in the style of Le Marche). I did some research and it turned out that this dish is known as Anguilla in Umido in most of Italy, and that it originated in Campania, the region of Naples. Anguilla in Umido is traditionally eaten between Christmas and New Year’s as a symbol to drive out the evil for the New Year. Eel looks like a serpent, and by eating it you conquer it. How simple was life back then.

So why am I preparing this dish in summer? Because fresh eel is available around here between May and October only, that’s why. And this year because of the cold, I only noticed eel at my fishmonger for the first time last week. It was very expensive (because eel is starting to become scarce), but I’m glad I bought it anyway because prepared this way it was absolutely delicious! The eel gives off a very nice flavor to the tomato sauce, the eel is tender and juicy without tasting too greasy, and the flavor of the eel is not at all overpowered by the tomato sauce. Continue reading “Eel in Tomato Sauce (Anguilla in Umido)”

Smoked Eel and Celeriac Risotto (Risotto Anguille e Sedano Rapa)

Two typical Dutch ingredients are smoked eel and celeriac (aka celery root). In Dutch cooking, they are sometimes combined in celeriac soup with smoked eel. I thought it would be worth trying some Dutch-Italian fusion and make a smoked eel and celeriac risotto. I loved the result and will definitely make it again. A nice thing about the smoked eel is that it is a “mile 0” product, as the eel is caught and smoked in the town where I live. Smoked eel is a delicacy because it melts on your tongue and has a very nice full flavor. It … Continue reading Smoked Eel and Celeriac Risotto (Risotto Anguille e Sedano Rapa)