If some of you are partial to smoked eel (unagi) on sushi in Japanese restaurants, here’s what’s on deck for dinner tonight. At the local asian grocery store called H-Mart in Burlington the other day, frozen unagi was on sale for $2 off. I bought three of them and stashed them in the freezer for nights like this.
These smoked eel packages are so easy to prepare – keep frozen and take off the plastic wrapping just when ready to heat up: cover the entire piece with aluminum foil and seal well. Heat the wrapped eel on a cookie sheet in the oven according to the package instructions until it is warmed through and through. In the meantime, start your rice cooker with short-grain white rice (I like to use a pinch of dashi in the broth) and wait until it is cooked.
If you have some persian cucumbers on hand, wash and quarter-slice a couple (hold knife at an angle, cut, turn cucumber a quarter turn, cut, turn, cut, turn cut) and put them into a shallow bowl. My recipe for this salad is to reconstitute dried wakame seaweed with boiling water, drain in cool water and add to the cucumber. Garnish the cucumber and wakame with a seasoned Japanese vinegar, a little soy sauce and sesame oil. Cover and chill in the fridge while the rice is steaming.
When ready to serve, place a fat ball of rice in a serving bowl for each person. Carefully open up the warmed eel on a plate to ensure that the glaze/sauce doesn’t escape. Cut the eel into serving portions and cover the entire top of the rice. Spoon the sauce over the eel on top. Serve with the cucumber wakame salad on the side.
Yum, and this very special umami-taste dinner couldn’t be easier to prepare!