The smoked eel in this dish is a great ready-to-use product that gives the taste of the chargrill to help combat the heavy eel fats. Plus it saves a lot of fuss and mess in the kitchen!
- 1 whole smoked eel (see Note)
- 6 parsley sprigs, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, halved
- ½ tsp spicy pimentòn
- 1 tsp sweet pimentòn
- 4–5 spring onions (scallions), chopped
- sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- 100 g (3½ oz) silverbeet (Swiss chard) leaves, finely chopped
- 100 g (3½ oz) English spinach leaves, finely chopped
- 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
- 70 g (2½ oz) lard or butter, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) plain (all-pupose) flour, plus extra for dusting
- pinch of fine sea salt
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time: 10 minutes
- To make the pastry, combine the lard or butter and oil in a large bowl, then slowly add 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) of water to form a runny paste. Add the flour and salt and use your hands to bring the ingredients together to form a rough dough.
- Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface and briefly knead until the dough comes together. Flatten it with the palm of your hand or a rolling pin into a thick disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- Clean the eel by removing the head and peeling off the skin. Split the eel lengthways and carefully remove all the bones. Cut the eel into eight pieces and transfer to a bowl. Add the parsley, garlic, oil, the juice of one lemon half, both pimentòns and the spring onion. Season to taste, then set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) fan-forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Roll the dough out on a well-floured work surface to a 35 x 20 cm (14¾ x 8 in) rectangle. Transfer to the prepared tray and scatter half the silverbeet and spinach over the dough, leaving a 3–4 cm (1¼–½ in) border. Spread the marinated eel mixture on top, then cover with the remaining silverbeet and spinach. Brush the borders with a little beaten egg, then fold the two longer sides of dough into the centre to meet in the middle, sealing them together with a few pinches all the way along the top. Fold over each end and pinch to seal.
- Make three air holes with a wire skewer or knife along the top of the pie and bake for 40–45 minutes, until golden.
• You can buy smoked eel from some delicatessens and most fishmongers.
Recipes and images from Islas: Food of the Spanish Islands by Emma Warren, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99