Smoked eel rillettes

By Regula Ysewijn

The flavour of smoked eel is earthy, like smoked trout, but more delicate. Rillettes is a super easy pâté made of coarsely flaked meat or fish. Horseradish is often added, but I find it too overpowering for smoked eel. Enjoy this dish by putting a large pot in the middle of the table with pieces of brown or sourdough toast, so everyone can serve themselves.
Serves 2-4


  • Smoked eel fillets from a sustainable source
  • 130g mascarpone (unsweetened)
  • Small bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
  • Lemon juice, one teaspoon


Put the mascarpone into a large bowl and mix with the lemon juice, two thirds of the chives and a few turns of the pepper mill.

Flake the eel into the mascarpone and combine well with a spoon. Don’t try to make it into a pâté as the rillettes needs a chunky texture to scoop on to your toast or bread.

Taste, add more pepper or even a pinch of salt if needed and then transfer the rillettes to your chosen serving dish. Sprinkle over the remaining chives.

If you want to spice things up, finely chop a fresh red chilli to sprinkle on top. Don’t add too much or you’ll spoil the eels’ delicate flavour.

Serving tip: You could serve the rillette in smaller individual pots; or put it into easily closed small jam or marmalade jars, like they serve at hotel breakfasts, to take with you on a picnic.

Smoked eel is usually sold in two ways, filleted and whole. Ask your fishmonger to calculate the weight for you if you buy whole ones, which are usually more economical.