Last year I started a post about Poor man's lobster. I had heard so many different versions and stories I thought it would make an interesting series of posts. I tried a pike recipe that involved soaking pike in vinegar and then boiling it and ended up with a mushy pile of pike. I kind of forgot I was going to try to do as many different kinds of poor man's lobster as I could find and then a Friend from work asked if I wanted any eelpout. Her husband Cliff Yandle was heading up to the International Eelpout festival in Walker, MN. The festival takes place every February and is an incredible display of what can happen in the middle of a long winter when people get bored. Upwards of 10,000 people migrate north to celebrate an ugly but very tasty fish.
I have only ever eaten eelpout fried but have heard several hundred times that if you boil them in 7UP and serve them with butter they taste just like lobster. So according to the rules of my Poor Man's lobster test I cooked it in the 7UP and tried it with the drawn butter then used the rest to make a Poor Man's lobster roll.
I was very pleased with the taste of the eelpout after boiling it in the7UP. It was sweet and had a nice texture although it was considerably softer than real lobster. I am not sure that cooking it in the 7UP actually helped or of it hindered the texture. If I get another eelpout I would like to try this again but instead of 7UP I want to try boiling it in salt water. The fish worked really well in the poor Man's lobster roll and after chilling the meat after cooking the texture was a little firmer.
For the most part I will say that eelpout is a very tasty fish and doesn't deserve any of the hatred it has had. What it isn't is lobster, even after poaching it in 7UP it was no where near as sweet as lobster and the texture was soft. I will try it again as I said cooking the fish in salt water to see if that helps with the soft texture.