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Smoked eel with cabbage, potato and a garlic, lovage mayonnaise

Smoked Eel with Cabbage, Potato and a Garlic, Lovage Mayonnaise

Adam Reid is head chef at The French, a restaurant in Manchester.

The French strikes the perfect balance between heritage and progressive cuisine. While the restaurant is steeped in history, the menu offers modern British food that delivers consistently excellent flavours by using the best seasonal produce and the very latest technological advances. Here’s a recipe using our herbs.


  • 1 whole smoked eel
  • 1 whole hispy cabbage
  • 250g new potatoes
  • 250g rapeseed oil
  • 4 garlic bulbs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10g fresh thyme
  • 100g pasteurised egg yolks
  • 400g grapeseed oil
  • 300g fresh lovage leaves
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 200g pork skin
  • 20g Mugi Miso
  • 1 ltr chicken stock


The day before needed, take the lovage leaves and 200ml grapeseed oil and in a blender process to a green liquid. Hang in a j-cloth in a sieve over a bowl in the fridge overnight to strain out the remaining pulp. Take the garlic bulbs, cut in half, reserve 1 clove for the potatoes. place in the other 200ml of grapeseed oil, fry on a medium heat until garlic is a golden colour. Leave overnight to cool before straining the next day to leave a garlic infused oil. Roughly scrape the potatoes to remove skin (dont worry about being perfect, a little skin will add flavour) and parboil. Cool down and place in a ovenproof pan with rapeseed oil, garlic clove, bay leaf and thyme (make sure solids are well covered with oil, you will want a small, deep pan). Cover tightly with 3 layers of tinfoil and place in oven for approx 4 hours at no higher than 100oC or until soft to the bite. Allow to cool in pan and retain until next day. In a deep pan, cover eel trim and bones with stock, bring to boil and simmer for 20 mins. Pass through a sieve then reduce to a thick, syrupy sauce.

On the day of serving, take the smoked eel and fillet from head to tail along the backbone. Remove any back bone left on fillet and the rib cage at the top of the fillet. Pick out any large pin bones. Separate skin from fillet by running your finger between the two, the skin should peel away nicely. Cut fillet into 50g portions. Break the cabbage down into leaves and using the sweeter and whiter heart leaves, trim required amount of leaves to a nice size and shape.

Mix yolks, mustard and vinegar and season with a little salt, whisk well. Combine the garlic and lovage oils. Using an electric whisk, whisk the yolks on a high speed whilst slowly and steadily pouring in the oils (you will want the mayonnaise very thick so take your time and incorporate oils slowly but never stop pouring!). When a tight mayonnaise is achieved, store in a covered container in the fridge until needed.

Scrape away any excess fat from the skin and dice into 0.5cm pieces. Bake in a roasting tray at 200oC for approx 30-40 mins or until puffed and crispy. Strain off excess fat in a sieve and season with salt (I like lots of salt on my crackling!) retain at room temp until required.

To serve the dish, Fry the eel portions in a little oil in a frying pan just to colour and warm through, dry on kitchen roll and brush lightly with the miso paste for added flavour. Place onto dishes. Warm potatoes in oil, strain and place next to eel on plates. Fry the cabbage in oil until just coloured and wilted but keeping the bite, sprinkle with salt and place on top of potatoes. Next to eel, spoon a dollop of the mayonnaise then cover with pork skin pieces, then drizzle with reduction and serve.