Walleye recipe from Minneapolis’ Farmers Kitchen

MINNEAPOLIS – For those looking for a farmer-to-table Lent dining experience, visit Farmers Kitchen + Bar for their waterfront lunch with a crispy seared walleye sandwich or sample the walleye on their dinner menu, pan seared , served with wild rice pilaf and seasonal vegetables.

Farmers Kitchen + Bar is a farm restaurant and market. Their mission is to connect guests with local family farmers by bringing the food produced and grown throughout Minnesota to their plate.

Walleye entrance

Executive Chef Kris Koch, Farmers Kitchen + Bar

The secret to searing zander or fish perfectly is to have the pan at just the right temperature – not too hot and not too cold. My favorite way to finish the fish is by basting it with lemon shallot butter. Prepare the side dishes and lemon shallot butter ahead of time to serve with your freshly cooked walleye.

4 zander fillets, skinless

1-2 tablespoons cooking oil

fresh lemon juice to taste

Lemon shallot butter to finish (recipe follows)

1 cup toasted rice (let cool before grinding, a clean coffee grinder is perfect)

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Toast the rice in a hot, dry pan until flavorful and just brown.

Dust the fish with ground, toasted rice and season with salt and pepper. This helps reduce any water that may be on the outside of the fish. Heat pan to medium-high heat first, then reduce heat to medium-high and add oil. When the oil is hot, cook the fillets, skin-side up, in two batches for 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook skin-side down for another 3-4 minutes. (“Skin side” refers to the shiny side of the fillet where the skin has been removed.)

After turning the fish skin-side down, sprinkle some chopped shallots and fresh herbs over the fish along with a touch of butter and a squeeze of lemon. Soften the shallots and baste the fish with the herbs, butter and shallots. Finish with lemon shallot butter (recipe follows).

1 lemon, grated and squeezed

1 cup unsalted butter, softened or room temperature

1-2 pinches of salt and pepper

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Put aside.

2-3 sticks of celery, leave whole

½ yellow onion, left whole

salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes (similar to cooking brown rice). Remove celery and onion. Check the spices and adjust them to your liking.

Fried root vegetables

1 medium turnip (peeled and diced medium)

1 medium turnip (peeled and diced medium)

1 small hard pumpkin acorn or butternut (peeled and diced medium)

1 bunch Tuscan or Lacinato kale, aka Dino kale (large/medium chopped)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Splash of apple cider vinegar

Dip all the diced vegetables – except the kale – in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little honey on a baking sheet.

Cook in an oven at 375°F for 12-15 minutes or until tender and toasted. While the veggies are still hot, transfer to a bowl and add the chopped kale with just a dash of sherry or apple cider vinegar. The heat from the roasted vegetables should wilt the kale. You can also put everything back on the sheet, turn off the oven and keep warm while you cook the fish. Every home oven is different so please keep this in mind if your oven is running hot or you have a convection oven at home.

Arrange cooked zander fillets on plates and serve with wild rice pilaf and roasted root vegetables.

Chef Kris’s Walleye Hack:

To remove the skin from frozen walleye, make sure the fish is still frozen. Run the skin side under room temperature tap water three to four times to just thaw the skin side of the fish. Take a corner of the skin from the thicker end of the fillet. Hold the frozen fish in the other hand and peel off the skin. It takes a bit of timing, but once you figure out the process, it’s smooth! Let the fish thaw in the refrigerator or leave it on a baking sheet for about half an hour.

You may want to remove the bones from the middle part of the fillet. To do this, cut a small ¼-inch section at an angle from the top of the fillet to the end of the belly section and pull out. You can choose to leave those little bones in, but be careful when eating. They usually soften during the cooking process.

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