Are eels good to eat?

Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Date: February 4, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: salty nick
Subject: Eel tasted funny. . .


I tried the eel that I caught yesterday, but it had a "funky" taste to it. First tried it broiled with the skin on (which I rubbed with salt/cornstarch) and brushed w/ teriyaki sauce. Then I tried the same method but removed the skin and rewashed it. Didn't seem to matter - tasted funny both ways. I was wondering whether it matters if it's skinned when cleaned or later (is there an ammonia thing going on like with sharks/rays) - or did I just get a bad-tasting eel? I'd hate to keep another one, if they all taste this way. On the other hand, the rockfish was very good. Salty.

Posted by gyozadude

I was hoping you'd report that this was the best-tasting eel just like the Unagi they serve in fancy Japanese restaurants, only fresher. But, alas, I think the Unagi-style eels are freshwater eels right? I have that old Japanese children's box "Gon-gitsune" (Fox called Gon) and it opens and describes a man laying a net in a creek to catch Unagi eels. BTW, I love unagi. God help those folks in line at the buffet at Today who are behind me and want unagi... they better wait for the next tray :). - Gyozadude

Posted by snakeman70

Eel always tastes funny. That is one of the most fishy meats that I have had the displeasure to have eat on several occasions. Even Unagi tastes terrible, after several attempts. I am still told that I am crazy, even as other people are yumm'n away. Maybe you are like me and just plainly, don't like Eel? Did yours have an ammonia smell? Maybe it does need to be treated like Shark? I am curious, too.

Posted by leony

I believe the unagi-style eels are salt-water too. Maybe even the local monkeyface eels can be made into unagi if we can find a recipe for it. Eel is a very fishy fish. I don't think any other way to cook it will get rid of that fishy taste.

Posted by leony

Oops, I was wrong. Salt-water eel is anago, while freshwater eel is unagi. And lamprey eels are more delicate!

Posted by aarondaar

I've eaten it a few times. I wouldn't say it tasted fishy, but it did have an odd taste. You may want to try soaking it in milk for an hour or so and try again. Also, I met a die-hard eel consumer out at Half Moon Bay who insists the only way to cook it is grilled...

Posted by Hungs

You have to remove the two small glands right behind the gill fins. Also, if you peel off the skin right behind the gill a little bit, it will reveal a small white thread running all the way to the tail, remove that too (both sides). Make a V cut to take out the anus area (sp?). You don't have to remove the skin. After empty the gut, look inside along the spine, there is a brown stuff, scrape it off, it will break off into pieces, you can't just peel it off. Clean it with water, then soak it in Mountain Dew (the stuff in the can is better), then cook it the way you want. Eel blood looks just like human blood, does it?? :) Happy cooking. Hung.

Posted by eelmaster

It is VERY VERY important to skin the eel asap after you catch it. w/ the skin, well it just tastes like crap. I have eaten too many eels to think about, w/ only one bad time. I left the skin on while cleaning, then tried to skin it the next day. Monte, the eel master

Posted by Salty Nick

Unagi is one of my favorite sushi's, and like G-dude said, I was hoping it would taste like Unagi, but fresher. But it wasn't a fishy taste, it was a funny, unusual taste. If I happen to catch another one I will take said advice, skin it and remove those glands (but really, Mountain Dew?) maybe lemon juice. Thanks for all the help. Salty.

Posted by lucy

The "unagi" you get in sushi restaurants is freshwater eel, but somebody at Hi's Tackle told me that monkeyface eel is just as good. Unagi is marinaded in a sauce made with rice wine, rice-wine vinegar, soy sauce, and various other things, which probably changes the taste a great deal. I've never eaten unagi “plain,” and for all I know, it might also taste kind of funky.
 

evanluck

Well-known member
#3
No mention of eating moray eels.
I've seen on other forums that eating moray eel is dangerous because of ciguatera toxin. Also there was a compelling argument that they are a real attraction for divers and fishermen both rod and reel and spear fishermen should leave them in the reef so that divers and snorkelers could continue to enjoy them especially the large ones. The one report that asserted that they were good eating cooked a small one.
 

Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#4
The moray that are dangerous to eat are the ones found in the East Coast and tropical seas. Those out here (California moray) seem to be fine.

What is a little strange, given the comments on the thread, are that monkeyface pricklebacks (eels) have become a favorite of the big time chefs in San Francisco. They claim they are delicious and usually cook them skin and all. They are usually, I think, broiled, and often a sauce is brushed onto the skin.
 

evanluck

Well-known member
#5
The moray that are dangerous to eat are the ones found in the East Coast and tropical seas. Those out here seem to be fine.

What is a little strange, given the comments, are that monkeyface pricklebacks (eels) have become a favorite of the big time chefs in San Francisco. They claim they are delicious and usually cook them skin and all. They are usually, I think, broiled, and often a sauce is brushed onto the skin.
Yes, I've seen a number of videos featuring catch and cooks on the monkey faced pricklebacks. The preparation you are mentioning sounds inspired by Japanese Unagi which is a freshwater eel made with a similar preparation.