Exploring Sweden: in Search of Eel in Scania

Smoked eel

Åhus is a town in Eastern Sweden famous for its fresh water eels – smoked and usually served with scrambled eggs. That’s what I learnt online while doing research on the specialties of Scania when visiting the region. It sounded so appealing to me that I decided this dish is worth travelling across the country.

Some more research followed trying to find out where exactly I could try this dish, but there was only one place mentioned – Hånsa & Maria cottage – where they serve scrambled eggs with eel for the pre-booked parties for no less than 10 people. My determination to try it did not lessen, nor was it destroyed by pouring rain on the day I planned to visit Åhus.

Absolut vodka distillery

Absolut vodka distillery in Åhus

One and a half hour drive from Malmö and there I was – in a little quiet town famous for its Absolut vodka distillery and a few riverfront restaurants, all closed due to the time of the year – late autumn. A walking tour around the town resulted in spotting the only establishment worth stopping by, Nya Conditoriet – a bakery with a wide choice of mouth-watering produce.

It didn’t take long to realise that finding the traditional eel dish will be trickier than I thought. The last hope was eel smokehouse Åspets Rökeri across the river. No wonder their restaurant was also closed and I was lucky to find at least the shop open. I had no choice but be creative and start thinking of plan B – picking up some freshly smoked eel and making scrambled eggs at home.

Aspets Rokeri

Fish smokehouse Åspets Rökeri

Eels on the display looked nice and fatty and the fact that people were lining for them in this little shoppe in the middle of nowhere was promising. I picked up a generous chunk of big eel and some other bits and pieces for sampling purposes, such as fried and marinated herring and some herring salad.

Fish and seafood shop

Fish and seafood shop

The next step after coming back home to Malmö was to find the recipe for Swedish scrambled eggs with eel. It appeared that the dish was much simpler than I thought: a variation of scrambled eggs, possibly seasoned with nutmeg, served with eel fillet on the side. The idea of cold eel was not that appealing to me, so I decided to do a bit of an improvisation. At first I was contemplating on chopping the eel up, mixing it into the whisked eggs and frying, but I was a bit worried that the fish might lose its flavour and delicate texture.

I ended up making scrambled eggs separately and serving them inside of a ring made of eel fillet. Not sure how close to Åhus scrambled eggs my dish turned out to be, but it was a total success both in terms of taste and presentation. The eel itself was probably the best that I’ve ever had – very juicy with a light smoky taste. The heat from scrambled eggs warmed up the fish and the flavour combination was just perfect.

Here you can find my recipe for this Swedish inspired dish.

 

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Featured photo credits: TJS

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