Sunday, December 09, 2007

I'm in love!

It’s been over 3 months since my last ‘oh my goodness’ kitchen moment. I can’t even remember a recent restaurant swoon. But unexpectedly today, while innocently preparing some lunch, my mouth found a happiness it hasn’t experienced for a while.

I’ve always had a bit of a weakness for smoked foods – trout, eel, tofu. This week I discovered Earnest Bean’s smoky olive dip, which was definitely worth another visit. Their smoked tofu also went into the mid-week noodle salad which is still a pleasant memory. But it was a quest for eel that sealed the deal.

While the Polish Deli (at Vic Market) had some skinned and boned smoked eel fillets, the use by date was minutes away from expiring and I wasn’t going to eat it that night. The usual stall had none on display but the owner smiled and said proudly he’d just had a delivery so I waited patiently until he was ready to serve me. Then with a smile he said he had something very special, just three modest sections of eel, no head or tail, lovingly hot smoked in Eden and he promised it was good.

You know, I almost forgot about it til I the tummy rumbled for lunch. Perhaps a little eel in a potato salad to give it a bit of oomph. I put the potatoes on to steam, chopped a few mini gherkins to give the salad acidity and crunch, a little leftover avocado for creaminess, a bit of red onion and peppery rocket. I mixed a mustardy-vinaigrette with some macadamia oil and added a dollop of mayonnaise (a cheats way to make the dressing creamy) and idly started preparing the first fillet. How much I wondered, remembering how bland the last bit of eel I’d bought in Melbourne was. As the small morsel entered my mouth, I smelt salt and smoke. Really, really good salt and smoke! The flavour was intense, reminding me of the best bacon I ever ate in my former meat eating life.

The cubes of eel were perfect in the salad and I almost cried with joy!

Sapphire Smoked Seafood from Eden – I love you! Now hurry up and get a website so I can tell the rest of the country where to find you!

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Blogger Agnes said...

The eel sounds amazing! You're making me drool. :)

7:44 pm  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

ahhh... yes ... a weakness of mine too. Just have to find it somewhere here in Sydney now. In the meantime, unagi in a Japanese restaurant, albeit unsmoked, is a good substitute.

12:54 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Stephanie - maybe you need to find where the Eastern Europeans hang out (or kiwis) and they'll lead you to the good stuff. Am about to depart from NZ after a couple of weeks of stuffing myself with all sorts of smoked fish. If you are in Wellington check out the smoked fish salad at Chow!

1:02 pm  
Blogger travelskerricks said...

I happened to be passing through Eden during my holidays, so I tried to track these guys down. Various food outlets in Eden denied that anyone would ever smoke an eel (they seemed grossed out, in fact), but eventually someone suggested I try the Sapphire Smokehouse (this was the point where i remembered the name of the smoker) and gave me directions. They were closed. There is no happy ending.

I did think it was weird, though, that Eden's 'fancy' deli stocked all kinds of preserved fish from Scandinavia, but nothing from their local smokehouse.

Anyway, guess I'll have to go to Vic Market.

3:19 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

But it was a valiant search none the less. Vic market were out of it on tuesday - the smokehouse as you found out was closed. I haven't been able to get any since I blogged about it - hmmm maybe more people read this blog, or have a smoked eel fetish, than I realised!

3:34 pm  

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