If you prefer the real elvers (baby eels) to the pseudo-elvers (“gulas” made of surimi fish), you might feel a little lost with these recipes. We must acknowledge, that like with caviar, the number of people that can afford true elvers is constantly in decline. Its exorbitant price is due to the fact that the eel is protected in countries such as Japan, where this dish is very popular. The eel is now considered an endangered species due the declining number of specimens that is caused by its extraordinary and complicated reproduction and the popularity of baby eels in many countries.

Due to these complications, the price of elvers has experimented a spectacular rise. If you didn’t know, that white and grey spaghetti-like food you eat is actually young baby eels. If you’re a conservationist, but you still like to enjoy good food, we have the perfect solution for you: pseudo-elvers (or “gulas” in Spanish). This substitute also comes from fish (the surimi in Alaska) and in many cases imitates perfectly the original appearance of the original elver (though many say not the taste or the texture).

If you are new to “gulas” or you want to innovate with them, Spanish gula brand “La Gula del Norte” has created these tasty and simple recipes by the chefs of Angulas Aguinaga that you can easily try at home:

  1. Octopus ceviche and shell with gulas

Ingredients: pepper, tomato, avocado, red onion, sweet potato, coriander, olive oil, limes, salt, pepper, gulas, boiled octopus leg and clams.

Steps: dice the vegetables, add the octopus in thin slices and the gulas to a frying pan. Dice the coriander and incorporate it. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix. Add the lime juice all over, cover it and let it sit for 15 minutes away from the stove. Boil the sweet potato and cut in into slices and steam the clams. Chop the avocado into squares and decorate the plate with these three ingredients. Prepare the vinaigrette with olive oil, and lime grating and juice. Season the dish to taste and serve.

  1. Hake tacos ‘a la ondarresa’ with gulas

Ingredients: hake, garlic, butter, virgin olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper and gulas.

Steps: salt and pepper the hake and separate the spine. Cook until golden brown and add olive oil to the spine. In a different frying pan melt the butter in some olive oil and add garlic in thin layers. Add the gulas to the pan too. Once the spine is separated from the meat, the hake is ready. Remove the spine and fill the hole with the gulas and sprinkle with parsley.

  1. Sautéed baby squid with gulas

Ingredients: chilli, garlic, parsley, potato, green pepper, white wine, baby squids, salt, olive oil and gulas.

Steps: peel the potato and cut it in slices, cut the pepper. Flavour the olive oil with two garlic pieces in a frying pan and then take then out. Stir-fry the pepper and the potatoes and put them on a plate, stir-fry the garlic and chilli in slices and add the gulas. Serve the dish. Clean the baby squids and sauté them. Add white wine and chopped parsley. Dress the baby squids with their own juice and serve.

  1. Salmon tartar with gulas

Ingredients: limes, chive, avocado, gherkins, egg, spring onion, salt, pepper, olive oil, salmon fillet and gulas.

Steps: dice the spring onion, the gherkins, the chive and the salmon and add to a bowl. Boil two eggs and peel, chop the eggs and incorporate them. Add salt and pepper, olive oil and lime juice and mix. Separately, cut the avocado in squares and add it on top and add salt. Add the gulas on top and throw some virgin olive oil on there and serve.