About this recipe:This recipe provides an excellent balance of nutrients. Rich in complex carbohydrates and protein, the addition of a side salad creates a deliciously healthy gourmet meal.
600ml (1 pint) fish stock
100g (3½ oz) smoked eel fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
150g (5½ oz) risotto rice, such as arborio
125ml (4fl oz) dry white wine
Finely grated zest of ¼ unwaxed lemon
1 handful of parsley leaves
1 handful of rocket leaves
Salt and black pepper
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Method Prep:10min › Cook:30min › Ready in:40min
Put the stock in a small saucepan and slowly bring to simmering point. Meanwhile, trim any skin from the smoked eel. Run your fingers along the fillet to feel for stray bones and cut them away. Chop the fillets into 1cm (½ in) pieces and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until the rice is shiny and fragrant.
Add the wine and lemon zest and simmer, stirring, until evaporated. Add a ladle of hot stock and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been absorbed. Add another ladle of stock and continue stirring and cooking until it too has been absorbed. Repeat this process until all or most of the stock has been used and the rice is just cooked, about 17 minutes from the first addition of hot stock to the rice.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the smoked eel, parsley and rocket, so that the leaves wilt only slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of fresh or defrosted peas during the last 2 minutes of cooking to add healthy variety to this carbohydrate-based dish.
Instead of the white wine and lemon zest, you can add verjuice, a recently revived medieval ingredient available in some supermarkets and independent gourmet stores. It adds a strong fruity flavour to this dish that helps to cut through the richness of the eel.