Sea eel is one of the oldest Edo style sushi ingredients. They were very abundant in the Tokyo bay at the time. Also, it is one of the original ingredients that were cooked to prevented it from spoiling quickly in the old days. The original presentation was to make a pair of sea eel sushi with one having the flesh facing up and the other with the skin facing on top.
When prepared as a sushi, sea eel is simmered slowly until the tiny bones become soft and negligible. It is then cooled before it is prepared into nigiri sushi. Sea eel is very soft and fragile, and very light. Traditionally, it is accompanied with it’s own tsume sauce, an abbreviation for nitsume, which means simmered and reduced. The tsume isa reduction of the broth created when the eel has been simmered, and blended with soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar. The sea eel is richer in the lower half of the body,so it is made with the flesh facing up. The upper half has a leaner texture, so the skin is faced up, so the sauce doesn’t interfere with the delicate taste of the sea eel.
No soy sauce or wasabi is used when consuming see eel, but sometimes grated Japanese citrus peels and green chili pepper is a nice compliment to its earthy aromas.
Popular sushi style: Nigiri
Popular condiments: Tsume, YuzuKosho