No.1 travel guide for Belgium; dedicated to Belgian beer and food culture.

Paling in ‘t Groen

Email  •  Print

paling in t'groen Paling in't groen (eel in green sauce)
© Toerisme Provincie Antwerpen

Although some of us get a bit squeamish at the idea of eating eel, this fish isn't only adored by the Japanese. Eel used to be a main staple food in Belgium, and certainly in Flanders.

For sustainability, most eels are now raised using aquaculture in (Dutch) fish farms as they are becoming rarer in the wild.

Nevertheless many Flemish restaurants serve them as a true delicacy prepared in various ways. The most typical of preparations is still "in 't ’groen" (green sauce).


  • 20g butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 500g fresh eel, chopped pieces (+/- 10cm)
  • 200ml dry white wine (no beer in this one)
  • 2 bunches of flat-leaf parsley
  • 500g fresh spinach
  • Three sprigs of mint
  • Three sprigs of sage
  • Half a bunch tarragon
  • Half a bunch dill
  • A sprig of lemon balm
  • Three lovage leaves


Soften and sweat the onion in butter with the eel, herbs and salt to taste. Sprinkle with flour and add the white wine. Stir and leave to simmer for 15 minutes at a low temperature. Remove the eel from the cooking juices and drain briefly.

Use a blender to chop up the juices with the herbs and then push them through a small-holed sieve.

Return the eel to pan and add the sauce you have just sieved. Heat through, season to taste with a pinch more salt and a drop of lemon juice.

Serve and enjoy this Flemish speciality!


Story has it that this dish originated on the banks of the river Scheldt. As it is typical for the province of Antwerp, what can one better pair with this than a “Bolleke” or “De Koninck”.

This high fermentation, amber beer (5% ABV) is brewed with Saaz hops an several pure malts. No maize or sugars are added during the brewing process. It has a very distinctive zesty and a light bitter taste with a soft aroma that perfectly matches the character of this dish.

Tips & Tricks

  • Get fresh quality eels.
  • Let your fish monger clean the fish so it’s ready to use.
  • Don’t brown the onions!
  • Don’t be intimidated by other recipes using even more herbs, there is no definitive version of this recipe.

More Recipes with Beer

Beer battered Dover sole strips
Every now and then most of us like having some delicious battered and fried finger food, certainly when combined with a nice beer. Rather than whipping up your regular day-to-day variety, surprise ... [ read more ]
Cabbage parcels with minced meat and blonde Belgian beer
Maybe not the most typical Belgian dish but this is a dish that breathes honest, rural cooking. If you are a creative and active hobby cook you will have no difficulties coming up with your own variat ... [ read more ]
Game paté with Maredsous Bruin
In the autumn and winter game finds its way on to Belgian tables. As an alternative to the tried and trusted pork pâtés, we like this stronger-tasting paté of wild boar with a confiture or jelly, ma ... [ read more ]
Chocolate mousse with a Liefmans sabayon
We Belgians like to think of ourselves as real gourmets. It will come as no surprise that we are also chocoholics with a very sweet tooth. We take our desserts very seriously and always use the ver ... [ read more ]
Thai green lamb curry with Vedett IPA
Thai cuisine is zesty and piquant but delicate and mild at the same time, proof of the art of the judicious use of spices. In this curry, the mild-tasting, tender lamb takes on a hint of spiciness ... [ read more ]




Brouwerij Cornelissen, the tale and the taste

OPITTER - The locals would ask for “de bieren van Opitter” or “the beers from Opitter”, when they ordered a Pax Pils, Ops Ale or Sint-Gummarus. And if you popped into a café, you’d be in Jos’s or ... [ more ]

Chimay Grande Réserve Vieillie en Barriques 2016, a touch of wood

CHIMAY/COGNAC - Chimay Bleue stands out as a classic amongst Trappist beers. Nevertheless, its brewer continues to break new ground. The first ‘limited edition’ Chimay Grande Réserve Vieillie en Barriques saw the light <... [ more ]

Belgian beer culture recognised by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage

BRUSSELS - “We have won the World Cup!” exclaims Sven Gatz, Minister of Culture for Flanders. In his former role as Managing Director of the Federation of Belgian Brewers he immediately lent his ... [ more ]


More Beer

Premium Gueuze is the flagship brew of the St. Louis range and one of the jewels in the crown of Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck. This was by no means certain when Luc Van Honsebrou... [ more ]

Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup

Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.