Paling In’t Groen ©Michael Dehaspe

'Paling in 't groen' or eel in green sauce is a traditional Flemish dish of international renown. To many connoisseurs, the sauce is what makes this dish unique. It's therefore an obligatory stop during your trip in Flanders. Can't get enough of it? Use the recipe below to surprise your guests with this unique Flemish dish.

Paling In’t Groen ©Michael Dehaspe

The dish developed as many fisherman caught eels in the Scheldt River, with folklore stating that the dish should be prepared with whatever fresh herbs were found on the riverside e.g. parsley, mint, spinach, sorrel and watercress.

Consisting mainly of the popular leafy green herb chervil as well as sorrel, it is important that these ingredients are added at the last moment of cooking so that sauce retains a bright green color and the flavor is strong and fresh. The fish itself is white and meaty, with a pronounced flavor.

Paling In 't Groen Recipe


  • 1 kg/2,2 lb eel
  • fish stock
  • 50 g/1,8 oz butter or margarine
  • 30 g/1 oz flower
  • 250 g/8,8 oz sorrel
  • a few sprigs of parsley and chervil
  • mint
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Cooking directions

  • Clean and rinse the eel and cut into pieces of between 5 and 6 cm/2 inches
  • Poach the eel for 10 minutes in the fish stock
  • Rinse the herbs and chop them finely
  • Make a white sauce with the butter or margarine, flower and fish stock
  • Add the chopped herbs and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice
  • Allow to boil for a few minutes
  • Carefully mix the eel into the sauce
  • Serve with brown bread or fries.
Back to top