Like many oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon and trout, eel takes on a wonderful, sophisticated flavour when smoked. Adam Gray perfectly balances this in this starter recipe with the crunch and acidity of fresh apples, a salty hit of bacon, and the zing of an apple and ginger dressing. If you can't find apple and ginger juice, grate a little fresh ginger into plain apple juice.
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Begin by preparing the dressing. Add the apple and ginger juice to a small pan and place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then simmer until reduced to about 150ml. Remove from the heat and whisk in the rapeseed oil, then season to taste and set aside to cool before serving
250ml of apple and ginger juice, plus extra for marinating
120ml of rapeseed oil
ground white pepper
Peel and cut the apples into large dice and place in a bowl. Pour over just enough apple and ginger juice to cover and leave to marinate until ready to serve
2 Cox's apples
50ml of apple and ginger juice
Place the smoked bacon lardons in a pan and cover with cold water. Place on a high heat and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and immediately drain through a colander. Run the lardons under cold water to refresh and remove any residue, then pat dry with kitchen paper
200g of smoked bacon lardons
Add the rapeseed oil to a frying pan and place over a medium heat, then add the blanched lardons to the pan and fry gently until golden brown. Transfer the cooked lardons to a tray lined with kitchen paper and leave to drain of any excess fat
100ml of rapeseed oil
Meanwhile, arrange the eel pieces on a metal tray and place under a hot grill for a few minutes until heated through, taking care not to let the tops burn
400g of smoked eel, boned and cut into 12 equal pieces
To serve, drain the apple cubes from the juice and divide between plates. Scatter over the cooked lardons and add the pieces of hot smoked eel. Garnish with the watercress leaves and a drizzle of the apple and ginger dressing
1 bunch of micro watercress leaves, washed
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