Smoked eel salad with poached egg

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

This is a fishy version of the classic salade frisée aux lardons. Smoked eel performs the part of the bacon. I recommend buying smoked eel on the bone as the pre-filleted and vacuum- packed stuff can lose some of its delicate smokey quality in the process. OK, you may need to do a bit of skinning and boning but it will be well worth it. As well as the Severn & Wye Smokery, Brown and Forrest (01458 250875/ www.smokedeel.co.uk) and Forman and Field (020-8221 3939/ www.formanandfield.com) sell smoked eel by mail order.

This is a fishy version of the classic salade frisée aux lardons. Smoked eel performs the part of the bacon. I recommend buying smoked eel on the bone as the pre-filleted and vacuum- packed stuff can lose some of its delicate smokey quality in the process. OK, you may need to do a bit of skinning and boning but it will be well worth it. As well as the Severn & Wye Smokery, Brown and Forrest (01458 250875/ www.smokedeel.co.uk) and Forman and Field (020-8221 3939/ www.formanandfield.com) sell smoked eel by mail order.

350g smoked eel on the bone
4 eggs
100g prepared curly endive
1tbsp finely chopped chives
2 slices of bread cut 1cm thick and crusts removed
3-4tbsp vegetable oil
A good knob of butter

for the dressing

1tbsp good-quality tarragon vinegar
2tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, peeled
2tbsp olive oil
3tbsp vegetable or corn oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

First, make the vinaigrette. Put all the ingredients into a clean bottle or jar. Give them a good shake and leave to infuse overnight at room temperature, or for at least an hour.

Cut the slices of bread into rough 1-2cm squares, heat the vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan and cook the croutons for 3-4 minutes, stirring them every so often until they are evenly coloured. Add the butter and continue cooking and stirring for a minute then remove from the pan and place on some kitchen paper.

Remove the skin from the eel and fillet from the bone with a knife. Cut into 1-2cm pieces.

Poach the eggs in an egg poacher or in boiling water with a splash of vinegar, dress the curly endive with the vinaigrette, season and mix in the chives and arrange on plates with the pieces of eel then place a poached egg in the middle of each and scatter with the croutons.

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