Paling in 't groen

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Paling in 't groen
Paling in t groen.jpg
Type Fish
Place of origin  Belgium
Region or state Flanders
Cookbook:Paling in 't groen  Paling in 't groen

Paling in 't groen (French: Anguilles au vert) is a Flemish regional dish, mainly from the area along the River Scheldt between Dendermonde and Antwerp. The Dutch language name (literally 'Eel in the Green') refers to freshwater eel in a green herb sauce.[1][2] The traditionally home-made meal is also sold fully prepared but still uncooked by some fishmongers' shops or market stalls, and can be enjoyed in specialty restaurants.[3]


Once the eel has been gutted and its head and skin removed, two inch long cuttings are simmered with a mix of finely chopped fresh herbs. These may typically be a selection of sage, ginger mint, oregano, sorrel, lemon balm (citronella), chervil, thymus, cytrus thyme, savory, parsley, stinging nettle, spearmint, burnet, watercress, dragon's-wort, chives, and basil. Finely chopped shallot, cornflour, a little butter and salt are added. The stew is done as soon as the white flesh could easily be separated from the bone but still stays on when stirred gently; the amount of starch should allow the sauce on a plate after a minute to be a thickly flowing liquid. According to personal preference, a brighter green colour can be achieved by including spinach, though other aficionados clearly reject this. Variations with beer or wine, lemon juice, egg yolk, or even with chicken broth do occur.[2][4][5]

Although occasionally eaten cold, the dish is normally served hot with chips or bread. Consumers may squeeze some lemon over the pieces of eel.

Eel production[edit]

The local river eel has become rare or unwanted because of pollution. Since eel farms offer a very fat and gastronomically less desirable product, wild eel is usually imported. It has become a threatened and very expensive species.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Paling in 't groen, Visit Flanders US (Retrieved 30 June 2011)
  2. ^ a b Paling in 't groen, een klassieker uit de Scheldestreek! (in Dutch), Wijzer(s).be (Retrieved 29 June 2011)
  3. ^ European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission (2001). "Report of the Ad Hoc EIFAC/EC Working Party on Market Perspectives for European Freshwater Aquaculture: Brussels, Belgium, 14-16 May 2001". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome. p. 97. ISBN 9789251047002. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Het geheim van paling in 't groen ontsluierd (in Dutch), Vlaanderen Vakantieland (Retrieved 30 June 2011)
  5. ^ Paling in 't groen, een echte klassieker door chef Jan Buytaert: videos (in Dutch) for one variation, (Retrieved 30 June 2011)
  6. ^ The eel-good factor, Flanders Today (Retrieved 1 July 2011)