Anguilles au vert


by: NYC Cook

The original flemish name for the dish is "Paling op t groen" (eels on/at the green) which was rather faithfully translated in French "anguilles au vert". But in English "eels in green herb sauce" is the most common translation. These are plump river eels which have a firm white flesh and excellent texture and this dish is FABULOUS!


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serves: 4

1 1/4 cups (300 ml) Fish Stock

1 tablespoon (15 g) butter

2 large shallots (minced)

1/2 clove garlic (crushed)

1 small sprig of thyme

1 small bay leaf

1/4 cup dry vermouth (such as Noilly Prat)

1/4 cup (25 g) shredded spinach leaves

1/4 cup (25 g) watercress leaves (stems removed)

1 tablespoon each chopped tarragon (flat-leaf parsley, chervil, and chives, plus extra for garnish)

1/4 cup (25 g) shredded sorrel leaves

1/4 loaf of French bread

1/4 cup Clarified Butter

12 oz (350 g) skinned eel fillets (cut into pieces about 4 inches (10 cm) long)

3/4 cup (175 ml) heavy cream

3 egg yolks

Lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Nutrition Facts
Anguilles au vert

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 501

  • Total Fat: 37.7 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 18.1 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 340 mg
  • Sodium: 462.6 mg
  • Total Carbs: 16.9 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 1.8 g
  •     Sugars: 3.9 g
  • Protein: 23 g

how is this calculated?

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1.  For the sauce, boil the fish stock rapidly until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Melt the butter in another pan, add the shallots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf, and cook gently until soft but not colored. Add the reduced fish stock and the vermouth, and boil until reduced by about three-fourths. Discard the thyme and bay leaf. Add the spinach, watercress, and chopped herbs, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the sorrel and just let it wilt into the sauce. Tip into a blender and blend until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan and set aside.

2.  Cut the bread on the diagonal into 4 long slices, no more than 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. Fry the bread pieces in half the clarified butter for about 2 minutes on each side, until crisp and lightly golden. Keep warm in a Iow oven.

3.  Cut through the skin around the back of the head with a small, sharp knife.

4.  Using fish pliers, pull away about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of skin from all the way around the head.

5.  Hang the eel up by the head, with a meat hook or a piece of string, from something very secure and with plenty of room in which to work. Using a second pair of pliers, grab hold of some skin on either side of the eel and start to pull it away.

6.  As soon as the skin starts to come away more cleanly, firmly and steadily pull it down toward the tail. As you near the tail it will start to get a little harder, but just give it a vigorous final tug and it will come away completely, over the tail.

7.  To fillet the eel, lay it on a chopping board and cut off the head. Using a sharp, thin-bladed, flexible knife, make a shallow cut along the backbone of the fish, just above the line of bones. Start to cut away the fillet, keeping the blade of the knife as close to the bones as you can.

8.  As soon as you can get the whole blade of the knife under the fillet, rest your other hand on top of the fish and cut the fillet away in one clean sweep, down toward the tail. Turn the eel over and repeat on the other side.

9.  Cut the eel fillet diagonally into pieces that are 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide.

10.  Preheat the broiler. Brush the pieces of eel with the rest of the clarified butter and season. Arrange on a greased baking pan and broil, about 2 inches (5 cm) from the heat, for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Keep warm.

11.  Mix the cream and egg yolks together until smooth, then stir them into the sauce. Cook over a low heat, stirring, until lightly thickened, but take care not to get it too hot and boil or it will scramble. Season with a little lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste, and whisk to make the sauce slightly frothy.

12.  To serve, put the slices of fried bread on four warmed plates and put some of the eel pieces on top. Spoon the sauce over the eel and garnish each plate with a small bunch of tarragon, parsley, chervil, and chives.

Cooks' note:
This is a classic eel dish, so eel it's got to be ... or does it? I have a feeling it would work well with thin fillets of flatfish such as plaice, lemon sole, gray sole, Petrale sole, or flounder, or with whiting.

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