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  Media: 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, thyme, citrus thyme, savory, parsley, stinging nettle, spearmint, burnet, watercress, dragon's-wort (tarragon), 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.[clarification needed] According to personal preference, a brighter green colour can be achieved by including spinach, though other aficionados 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: 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 Archived 2011-10-04 at the Wayback Machine., Flanders Today (Retrieved 1 July 2011)