The flavour of smoked eel is earthy, like smoked trout, but more delicate. Rillettes is a super easy pâté made of coarsely flaked meat or fish. Horseradish is often added, but I find it too overpowering for smoked eel. Enjoy this dish by putting a large pot in the middle of the table with pieces of brown or sourdough toast, so everyone can serve themselves.
Put the mascarpone into a large bowl and mix with the lemon juice, two thirds of the chives and a few turns of the pepper mill.
Flake the eel into the mascarpone and combine well with a spoon. Don’t try to make it into a pâté as the rillettes needs a chunky texture to scoop on to your toast or bread.
Taste, add more pepper or even a pinch of salt if needed and then transfer the rillettes to your chosen serving dish. Sprinkle over the remaining chives.
If you want to spice things up, finely chop a fresh red chilli to sprinkle on top. Don’t add too much or you’ll spoil the eels’ delicate flavour.
Serving tip: You could serve the rillette in smaller individual pots; or put it into easily closed small jam or marmalade jars, like they serve at hotel breakfasts, to take with you on a picnic.
Smoked eel is usually sold in two ways, filleted and whole. Ask your fishmonger to calculate the weight for you if you buy whole ones, which are usually more economical.
By Regula Ysewijn
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