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Nothing is quite as delicious as real Dutch eel – a slippery little fellow, which is often caught in the Ijsselmeer, and is a genuine Dutch delicacy. Although usually served smoked, Dutch eel can also be prepared in a variety of other interesting ways. And, as it’s readily available in several other European countries, we felt that it was about time you discovered three tempting Dutch recipes showcasing the versatility of this lovely fish.
Palingragout (eel ragout)
Preheat your oven to 180C and bake the vol-au-vent case until lightly browned and nice and crisp. Heat the veal ragout according to the directions on the packaging and cut the smoked eel into pieces of approx. 1 cm. Next, stir the eel into the ragout and season with a little lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Finally, fill the vol-au-vent cases with the ragout mixture, garnish with a sprig of parsley and serve immediately. Delicious as an appetiser or an accompaniment to drinks.
Palingsalade (eel salad)
1 fresh smoked eel (filleted)
1 bag of mixed salad leaves
A small handful of alfalfa sprouts
1 red onion
1 sachet of Calvé dressing honey-mustard
Allow the eel to reach room temperature and then cut into thin strips. Divide the mixed salad leaves among 4 plates and arrange the eel slices on top. Slice the onion into thin rings and place them over the eel. Next, prepare the salad dressing and drizzle over the salad. Lastly, garnish each plate with a little alfalfa sprouts and a sprinkling of chopped chives before serving.
Gestoofde paling (eel stew)
1 fresh eel, skinned
1 tbsp. of salt
½ cup of vinegar
250 grams of dairy butter
1 tsp. of mustard
1 tsp. of cornflour
½ tbsp. of lemon juice
Allow the eel to soak in water, containing a splash of vinegar and a tablespoon of salt, for 45 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and cut into pieces of approx. 5 cm. Next melt the butter in a heavy frying pan and gently fry the eel until golden brown. Allow the eel to simmer on a low heat for a further 30 minutes. Once cooked, remove the eel from the pan and stir the cornflour, mustard and lemon juice into the remaining cooking juices to create a lovely smooth sauce. Divide the eel among 4 plates and spoon over the sauce. Finally, sprinkle with breadcrumbs (if desired) and serve.
As eel stocks have been in significant decline in the Netherlands in recent years, a fishing ban on Dutch eel is now in place during the Autumn months. This means that if you want fresh Dutch eel, you must visit a local fishmonger. Dutch fishermen have, in the meantime, taken several initiatives to improve the eel population, by assisting with the introduction of young eel to Dutch waters, with the aim of preventing such a ban in the future.
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?