Huss in green sauce

<i>Serves 4</i>
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Indy Lifestyle Online

On a visit to the annual seafood exhibition in Brussels I found eels in green sauce on a brasserie menu. Of course, I had to order it and I'm glad I did. It was so delicious, we played around with it and stuck it on the menu at J Sheekey, our West End seafood restaurant. Eels do have a following, but mainly in the East End of London where you still see eel and pie shops and fish stalls selling bowls of jellied eels. You may not be surprised to learn that the eels didn't exactly wriggle off the menu at J Sheekey, so you'll only catch them occasionally as a special. Eels can have a rather earthy flavour depending on where they have been living.

On a visit to the annual seafood exhibition in Brussels I found eels in green sauce on a brasserie menu. Of course, I had to order it and I'm glad I did. It was so delicious, we played around with it and stuck it on the menu at J Sheekey, our West End seafood restaurant. Eels do have a following, but mainly in the East End of London where you still see eel and pie shops and fish stalls selling bowls of jellied eels. You may not be surprised to learn that the eels didn't exactly wriggle off the menu at J Sheekey, so you'll only catch them occasionally as a special. Eels can have a rather earthy flavour depending on where they have been living.

Well, I won't think less of you if you can't bear the thought of eels squriming around in your kitchen sink. Huss, or dog fish as it's known to the local fisherman, makes a perfect substitute and is probably easier to get your hands on than eel anyway.

If you insist on eels, though, medium-to-small ones, up to 1.5 kilos are the perfect size for cooking. Get your fishmonger to kill, skin and chop them for you.

1.5-2 kg huss or eels, skinned, cleaned and heads removed
1 litre fish stock (or made from a good-quality fish stock cube)
4 shallots, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp white wine
3 tbsp vermouth
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
250ml double cream
100g watercress, any thick stalks removed
30g parsley, large stalks removed
15g chervil, large stalks removed
Good knob of butter

Cut the huss (or eels) into 3-4cm pieces and rinse well. Put in a pan with the fish stock, shallots, bay leaf, white wine and vermouth, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and poach for 10-15 minutes. Remove the fish from the cooking liquor with a slotted spoon and set side.

Reduce the cooking liquor down by two-thirds then add the double cream. Bring back to the boil and simmer until it has reduced by two-thirds again.

Add the watercress, parsley and chervil, and simmer for 3 minutes. Blend the sauce in a liquidiser until smooth, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean pan. The sauce should be a thick coating consistency; if not, simmer it for a few minutes until it thickens.

Adjust the seasoning if necessary, stir in the butter and add the fish. Simmer for 2-3 minutes to reheat and serve with mash or boiled potatoes.

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