How to enjoy smoked eel?

My neighbor just brought us a plate of smoked eel. What’s the best way to enjoy it?

Even with the many types of seafood I have eaten, smoked eel isn’t something I have sampled before. If would help to know this detail, the eel was brought back from a visit to the Netherlands.

My wife always used to bring back eel from her work trips to the Netherlands. As I recall, it was quite a small pack. I used to eat it with toast smeared with a little horseradish cream. Occasionally, we’d use it in a salad, say, something like this recipe -

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Your neighbour doesn’t like smoked eel? Lucky you. It’s a delicacy and costs a pretty penny around my parts.

Smoked eel is rich and exquisite due to the high fat content. Eat it sparingly and avoid putting it near any type of heat source (as in warm, freshly cooked food). This is one of the reasons smoked eel/fish is usually eaten alongside a salad, on bread or with food that’s not piping hot. There’s a soup with smoked eel scattered on top but I can’t remember the name now.

Goes well with scrambled eggs, cream, potatoes.


A smokehouse here in northwest England sells it. Currently priced at £7.99 for 100g.

Thank you so much @Harters, @Presunto!
I really did not have a clue about this new-to-me food. Sounds like the smoked eel calls for excellent bread and salad greens to go with. That horseradish cream sounds nice too.

I have noted Presunto’s tip about not putting the eel near hot (in temperature) food.

My neighbor explained to me that the eel is a delicacy. She was just given it by a dear friend of hers but doesn’t care for the stuff herself. She said it was super pricey so she really hopes we will enjoy.

I reckon this would work as a soup. Chef is from my part of the world

It’s such a delicacy. Some nice bread with a green side salad will be good, as the eel has to be the star! Yes, you need to eat it “cold” but not cold cold from the fridge.

Sometimes I felt the skin was a bit too thick and fat, I kept them aside and fried them as snack. The eel soup suggested by @Harters looked good, maybe you can use the skin for that too.

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Thank you! I have never had eel at home so these tips are so useful.

About 50 euros/kg if bought from the market fishmongers. From 32 euros/kg via internet but there’s shipping cost on top.

Yesterday I asked a bunch of elderly acquaintances how they like eating smoked eel. All of them said just peel off the skin and eat the flesh straight up with their hands. Also nice with a salad and bread. And all of them hissed loudly “So good! So expensive!”. Younger people don’t like eel at all.

I don’t like fresh eels but love them smoked. The partner finds eels stomach churning (“look like snakes”) so more for yours truly.



Similar to most smoked fish, “sharp” or “biting” vegs are good with eel. Radishes, beetroots, mustard cress, horseradish etc.

FYI, smoked eel in Germany is big and costs considerably more. The bread of choice is pumpernickel.

Several ways northern Germans enjoy smoked eel:

  • Eat straight up with the hands, Schnapp alongside.
  • Fried potatoes and scrambled eggs.
  • Green salad
  • Sharp vegs

I’ve not had any since the last Little Tokyo street fair in downtown Los Angeles five or six years ago. There was one booth that was selling them straight from the can, two for $1.50 I think. My wife suspected I kept going back because the girls in the booth were so cute, but it was pure greed.

I am glad to see this; I had forgotten about those eels, and am always looking for something along the line of kippers to round out my egg breakfasts.


Mmmmm, wish I had your problem. So good so many ways. With pureed cauliflower. Beets and horseradish cream. Smashed steamed potatoes. With pasta, chili flakes and garlic. Oh my, send them my way!


One could sub smoked herrings for smoked eels (poor man’s version). I made a glaze and brushed it on the herring pieces. Below is my version of “rice with eels” (Unagi donburi).

Sous vide yolks to mix into the wheat (in place of rice).


Just remembered this boggling but delicious dish we enjoyed in France last month. Here, it was halibut but smoked eel would be ethereal.
Bits of fish in the bottom of the bowl, topped with cauliflower mousse that was ever-so-slightly imbued with cocoa, and dusted with cocoa. Quite amazing! And very doable.


This reminds me of when my late parents-in-law were sent a smoked eel by my sister-in-law for Christmas. It arrived (boxed) very early, and was just put in the freezer. Shortly before Christmas another one arrived, which seemed a little odd, but then the whole clan are a bit absent minded. The second one was eaten, and the first one was removed from the freezer and unpackaged. To eveyone’s surprise (except mine, as I’m accustomed to this sort of thing in my wife’s lovely family) it turned out not to be an eel at all. It was in fact a replacement wooden leg for one that had broken off a footstool a few week earlier. The fact that it had been ordered had been completely forgotten. It was none the worse for its month at minus 20.


Literally a case (or a box) of mistaken identity. What a good story. :rofl: