Ashley Day is Field & Stream’s editorial assistant. We’ve sent her to ride quads in NYC, conquer seasickness on Joe Cermele’s boat off the Jersey Shore, and brave shooting lessons with David E. Petzal. Ashley’s latest expedition takes her up the street from our office to eat wild game prepared by master chef Brad Farmerie of NYC’s famous fine dining establishment, Public. Her first dish was wild-caught Brooklyn eel, which she reports on here.
“****Soy Glaze Eel with Pickled Bean Sprouts and Soft Boiled Quail Egg.”** I’m a picky eater with a boring appetite (I eat grilled cheese sandwiches everyday), so the name of this dish alone was enough to make me squirm. It looked and sounded like “slimy snake and the wrong bird’s egg,” and I anticipated forcing a bite down.
I was completely reassured when I split a spoonful in half and tried a small portion. The soy glaze gave the eel a sweet and rich taste, which was softened by the addition of the egg. This treat proved the perfect combination of flavors and textures. I ended up devouring both spoons in seconds, and promptly inquired about the dish in the kitchen.
According to Farmerie the eel was caught in Brooklyn right beside an IKEA I frequent, and the vegetables were grown in a garden nearby. He said most people mistake these eels for snakes and throw them back despite their potential for tasty meals like this one.
Farmerie was kind enough to share the recipe, which you’ll find below. The process looks a bit daunting, but this makes a pretty appetizer that’ll impress your friends the next time you invite them over for a meal. Chances are, they’ve never tried it before and like me will be pleasantly surprised. –Ashley Day
Recipe: Soy Glaze Eel with Pickled Bean Sprouts and Soft Boiled Quail Egg
Soy Glaze and Glazed Eel
1 Cup soy sauce
2 Piece palm sugar
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Star anise
1 Allspice berry
1 Pinch sancho pepper (optional)
1 green cardamom pods
2 Eels, filleted and boned
1. Combine all ingredients except eel and reduce over medium heat to a thick glaze-like consistency. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Remove skin from the eel and scrape the bloodline (grey soft meat) from the skin side.
3. Cut the eel into ¼-inch strips and place in a pan with the scraped side up.
4. Lightly drizzle the soy glaze over the eel and place under a broiler until the sauce is sticky and the eel has gone a bit crispy.
5. Allow the eel to come to room temperature until needed.
Pickled Bean Sprouts
1 Cup cider vinegar
1 Cup water
1 Large raw beet, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Thumb ginger, peeled and sliced
2 Piece palm sugar
1 Handful bean sprouts
1. Combine cider vinegar and water and bring to a boil.
2. Puree beets, ginger and sugar in a food processor and add to liquids.
3. Bring back to a boil and strain over sprouts.
4. Refrigerate until needed.
16 metal spoons
12 thin slices of English cucumber
8-10 soft boiled quail eggs (cooked in boiling water for 2 minutes 20 seconds, shocked in ice water, and peeled)- cut in half
1 Tablespoon chopped chives
1 Tablespoon chiffonade cilantro
1 Tablespoon chiffonade Thai basil
1. Toss together the glazed eel, pickled bean sprouts, chives, cilantro, Thai basil.
2. Place the mixture in the bowl of 16 metal spoons, making an indentation in the center of each spoon.
3. Place a half of a soft-boiled quail egg, cut side up, into the center of each spoon.
4. Season the egg yolk with sea salt and serve.