Nagia's orzo and smoked eel

  (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

 

Nagia's orzo and smoked eel

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 2

Note: Smoked eel is available at select markets as well as online. Smoked trout can be substituted.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Greek

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons finely chopped fennel bulb

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons orzo

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ouzo

1 1/4 cups fish or vegetable broth

1 garlic clove, minced

2 1/2 ounces smoked eel fillet, shredded

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 1/2 cups finely chopped wild fennel or fennel fronds

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the olive oil and butter in a deep skillet and heat over medium heat. Stir in the chopped fennel bulb and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 to 4 minutes. Add the orzo and stir to coat the pasta. Pour over the ouzo.

2. As soon as the alcohol steams off, stir in the broth and garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and stir until the orzo has absorbed almost all the liquid, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the eel, lemon juice and fennel. Stir for a minute, then remove from heat and cover.

3. Set the mixture aside for 5 to 7 minutes to absorb any excess liquid. Serve hot, with freshly ground pepper. This makes a scant 2 cups orzo.

Each serving: 639 calories; 24 grams protein; 56 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 34 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 101 mg. cholesterol; 3 grams sugar; 526 mg. sodium.