Yesterday we went for a stroll in one of our favorite Italian Street markets which are roughly 5 minutes away from our house in walking distance (Ah! The pleasures of not having to drive in this great city that is Milan!).

I had the pleasure of encountering this funny lady that later explained the tradition of eating Eel on the night before Christmas in certain regions of Italy. As you can see from the video below the Eels are live! Not my idea of a fun dish to cook in this Holiday season but it was quite fascinating, to say the least!

If you feel up to it and can locate some fresh Eels in your neck of the woods here is the recipe:

Capitone in bianco or Anguilla in bianco is a very traditional recipe that is very common in most parts of Italy for the day before Christmas when, in theory, you should not eat meat. Ingredients are for 4 people.

1 kg of eel (anguilla or capitone)
56 fresh bay leaves (yes, 56, it is a symbolic number etc)
Some rosemary (rosmarino)
23 juniper berries
2 cloves of garlic
1 small glass of dry white wine
1 lemon
1 tablespoon brandy
6 tablespoons of olive oil.

Preparation:
Wash, gut and skin the eel iI. Cut it into 3-inch pieces, flour them and fry in a frying pan in which you had heated 4 tablespoons of oil with garlic. As soon as the fish is coloring, put salt and pepper and pour the wine, lemon juice, brandy and a ladle of water. Then add the bay leaf, rosemary and juniper berries. Cover and cook over moderate heat for about 30 minutes, adding a little bit of water should the gravy dry up a bit. Add 2 tablespoons of oil prior to turning off the heat and serve.

Live Eels at the Fish stand of the Italian Market 1

Leave a Reply