Conservas de Cambados Angulas (Baby Eels) are probably the most storied, exotic, and rare product in our lineup of European-tinned offerings. Interestingly, these baby eels—known variously as glass eels, elvers, txitxardin, and angulas a la Bilbaína—are usually three to four years old when they are caught in the Basque country of Spain. They must then be held and cared for until the time is precisely right to dispatch them, and the addition of tobacco to the holding water accomplishes that task somewhat gently.
They are then cooked just as gently, and packed in a piquant olive oil, which we will adjust slightly for additional aromatics. The experience of these angulas is unlike anything, as much a textural journey as one of flavor. A forkful of baby eels is almost like a bite of tiny, meaty noodles with just a touch of serpentine exuberance, and the rich, spiced oil provides a smooth decrescendo to liquidity in the mouthfeel.
You must absolutely soak up all of that oil with bread, or at least save what's left over for another seafood dish. We’re pretty thrilled with this product, and we think you’ll agree that it’s something quite special. Tasting the skill and tradition involved in catching and canning these delicious little fish is, for many, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Let us know what you think of them in the comments or on our Facebook page.
1 or 2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small, fresh red chile pepper, sliced
1 whole clove bud
5 whole peppercorns of any color
3 tbsp olive oil
Warm the olive oil and the reserved can oil in a tiny skillet over a very, very low flame. If you have an electric griddle, gently warming the oil there is preferable. We are not so much cooking anything as creating a delicate infusion. You can begin this oil long before you prepare the other Feast dishes, but don’t add the can’s oil until you’re ready to serve. You want to serve the eels almost immediately after opening the can.
Add the garlic, chile pepper, clove and peppercorns to the oil. Heat gently until the garlic just begins to brown.
Add the eels and toss to coat with the warm oil. Heat very slightly and gently, then remove from the flame and serve immediately with slices of warm, crusty bread.