Friday, September 15, 2006

A First at Our Place

Well, I still can't say I've cooked eel, but now at least I can say I've served it.

Last month, when we were trying in vain to find the nonexistent Asian food market called Capital and instead found only the one called Asian Food Market, we spied prepared Japanese eel in the freezer case, and we brought some home.

The eel was precooked, and the package contained various heating instructions. All of the methods involved first placing the sealed package in hot water to "soften" the eel. Tonight I chose the method where you heat it further on foil in the oven, like many sushi chefs do (too few of them have those nifty eel grills that I've only seen once or twice at the best restaurants).

While the package soaked, I cooked teriyaki sauce, with a bit of shrimp stock added, to brush on the eel. But after all that careful sauce brewing, I pulled the softened eel out of its package to find it had already been dressed with sauce and was practically ready to eat. It was exactly like the stuff I used to get for lunch in the eel bowl at Saga Sushi, nee Daikichi Sushi, in NYC -- sweet and meaty and tasty, if not close to homemade. (I also get the impression that, with all the sugar and salt in the sauce, it's not exactly health food, despite eel being high in protein and vitamins A and B12. I'll have to look more closely at the package next time.) I slipped it into the toaster oven, and later I brushed a little of my sauce on it anyway.

The eel was quite the conversation piece when Margy got home, and we made quick work of it. I do intend to learn how to cook my own eel someday, but in the meantime this will do rather nicely.

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