Tag Archives: fish

Walleye Two Ways {With Wine Pairings}


This weekend, I tried to replicate last year’s Pantry Challenge. I made it more restrictive this time, though. After making a list of all of the items I had in my fridge, freezer and pantry, I decided that I could only use items in my home. I couldn’t supplement with any other groceries. I didn’t have too many ideas on what I’d make. I just knew that the list of foods I already had was way too long and varied not to figure out something.

When my parents were in town earlier this summer, my dad stashed some walleye in my freezer. He had caught it when he was out fishing a couple of weeks earlier.

Walleye? What’s a walleye?

That was a question I was asked when a work colleague came into town from Boston a few years back. We were out to dinner and I hadn’t even given a thought to the fact that they wouldn’t see this northern, freshwater fish on the East Coast.


Growing up, I really didn’t like fish. Part of it may have been that my mom didn’t like it, which means she never really cooked it. The times I did try fish, I didn’t like it because it tasted, well… fishy.

I can’t pinpoint when I started trying and liking fish and seafood, but I can say that it was probably at the end of my college career or shortly thereafter.

On the other hand, Rob is allergic to seafood. So the opportunity to make it this weekend presented itself when he went out of town.

I have to say that I don’t have a lot of experience cooking fish, but I have done it with success. So I started by looking up a pinning a few recipes to find out what were the best methods to preparing walleye, in particular.

What I found?

People really like to fry walleye! I think that’s the way I’ve mostly eaten it, too. But I didn’t want to fry it. I wanted to find a healthier version. I wanted to try something different.

So on Friday night, I made myself some Tuscan Walleye, something I can’t imagine that many people have done. 😉 I weighed my package of vacuum-sealed walleye and learned that it was twelve ounces. Twelve ounces of fish? How was I going to eat that in one sitting? Fish isn’t exactly something that tastes great reheated.

But after I took it out of the package, I found that there were TWO filets! And since I originally couldn’t decide which recipe I wanted to try, I decided I’d have walleye one way on Friday night and another way on Saturday for lunch.

Tuscan Walleye

For the Tuscan Walleye, I put the filet in a baking dish and brushed it with a Tuscan Herb-flavored olive oil that my parents also gave me as a gift.

630Then I seasoned it with salt and pepper. I repeated this on the other side. This blog is not titled Season It Already! for nothing.

631I popped it into a pre-heated 500 degree oven for about seven minutes. In the meantime, I made myself a Caprese Salad. And I’m not talking my usual Poorman’s Caprese. Oh, no.  I went all out with some fresh mozzarella and even added a different brown tomato called the Kumato for some color.

633I drizzled it with the same Tuscan Herb olive oil and seasoned it with some salt and pepper as well.

Dinner was Served!

634Eating this dish out on my back deck as the sun began to set on Friday night. At first, the fish was a little fishy-tasting. But soon, the seasoning took over. It was light and flaky and perfect for a summer day. After finding absolutely no bones, I gave Sham and Sophie each a piece. Bad Idea! They continued to beg from me the duration of my meal.

Wine Pairing

I’d pair the Tuscan Walleye with a nice crisp Italian Pinot Grigio.


As for my second version of walleye, I decided to do something WILD! A week or so ago, when I was at the store, I impulsively bought a grapefruit because it just smelled so good that day. It’s not a fruit I often eat, so it was still in my fridge. Then I found a recipe for Grapefruit Walleye!

Grapefruit Walleye

Since the recipe calls for 4 to 6 walleye filets, I just divided this recipe by four to cook for one. My one grapefruit was the perfect amount to cover the needed grapefruit juice and sections. However, I think I may have started my grapefruit sauce a little to early, because it really reduced down by the time the fish was done and became more of a chutney.

Grapefruit WalleyeBefore I cooked the fish, I did notice some bones, but I was having trouble getting those little suckers out. So I was just careful when I ate and they came out easily as the fish flaked away.

This time, I added some fresh basil to my Caprese Salad, used only a Kumato and drizzled it with a good quality Italian extra virgin olive oil. The walleye turned out beautifully! I loved the combination of grapefruit with the dill and green onions. I’d make this version again in a heartbeat.

Wine Pairing

I’d pair the Grapefruit Walleye with crisp, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc, of course! Sauvignon Blancs are know for their grapefruity and herbal qualities. With the dill, green onions and grapefruit, this is a match made in heaven!

Thank you, Dad for the delicious walleye!


What is your favorite way to prepare fish?


Restaurants on Kuau’i


I promise that this will be my last post on Hawaii!

Although we ate in quite a bit, I did want to make a note of the restaurants we did try, whether for pupus {appetizers}, a meal or just a cocktail. When we go back one day, we’ll have an account of where we’d like to return {and what to order!} and where we can skip. I apologize in advance for the lack of photos!


Duke’s (in the Marriot) – Lihue

We technically didn’t eat here. We just got drinks until our friends arrived. We had our first Mai Tais here and some not-so-exciting beer. My favorite, though? A Pineapple Mojito!


Pizzetta Pizza & Pastaria – Koloa

Our plan that first night was to all go to Costco to pick up some groceries for our week-long stay in the condo. However, everyone was just tired from the long flight, so we stopped at this pizza joint to fuel ourselves with the intention of hitting Costco the following morning.

Rob had the Pizzetta Signature Truffle Spaghetti Meatballswith truffle oil, cheese foundue, meatballs. Rob will order nearly anything {well, that he can eat} with the word truffle in it. He’s generally right that truffle-flavored dishes offer a one-of-a-kind umami experience and this one did not disappoint! This dish is highly recommended!

If possible, I like to order local dishes or dishes inspired by local spices when I am traveling. So when I saw Kalua Pig & Cheese on the pizza menu, I was intrigued. Mike told us that Kalua pig was definitely something we’d have to try while on the island. I decided to order the calzone since everyone else had decided on a pizza and Rob was ordering pasta.

Here is how Wikipedia describes kalua:

Kālua is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an imu, a type of underground oven. The word kālua, which literally means “to cook in an underground oven”, may also be used to describe the food cooked in this manner.

The meat is left in the ground to cook for six or seven hours! You can read more about how this works here.

My verdict: Juicy shredded pork complementing just the right amount of cheese. A Kalua Pig Calzone – the perfect Hawaiian-American comfort food to ease me into the trip.

Side note: Rob enjoyed some kalua pork and eggs with rice for breakfast later in the trip down at the poolside bar in our condo. It was a satisfying breakfast {much more so than my disappointing macadamia nut pancakes}. So I knew we’d be eating kalua pork again on the trip!


Joe’s on the Green (at Kiahuna Golf Club) – Koloa

We had lunch at Joe’s on the Green after golfing the Kukuiolono Golf Course with the guys. This is the little $9 nine-hole golf course I talked about here. $9 is not per round – it’s per day! If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, you know this is a steal, especially for the views! Since I didn’t want to pay to have my clubs checked for just one day in Hawaii, Lisa suggested I just have Rob put three or four clubs in his bag. When we arrived, I could rent a bag at the golf course – for just one dollar. It worked like a charm.

But I digress, back to lunch at the Kiahuna Golf Club. In the parking lot, before we went in, I noticed this license plate:

A Packer Fan in Hawaii!

The fan caught me snapping that photo, so we stopped to talk with him. This older gentleman from Texas was quite interesting to listen to because he knew the Bart Starr family. Still, a fun coincidence was that he has a lake home on the same lake in Wisconsin that Mike and Lisa have their cabin!

Digressing again… But you’ll never believe what I had. A Tuna Melt!

Marta’s Melt a spicy tuna melt with jalapenos and jack cheese on sourdough

I had the choice of French fries, island coleslaw, potato-macaroni salad or steamed white rice {available as a side in Hawaii almost anywhere}. I chose the island coleslaw. It was good, but not memorable. I ate my entire tuna sandwich – it hit the spot.

Rob ordered a sandwich which he has declared as just “an average Rueben.”


Grove Café aka “The Plantation” (at the Waimea Plantation Cottages) – Waimea

We went to the Grove Café for lunch after our trip to the Waimea Canyon. I don’t know why, but the Menehune Nachos were calling my name!

Nachos topped with Kalua Pork? No Brainer!

It’s also where we enjoyed these tasty beverages:

Maui Brewing Co. CoCoNut Porter

Green Flash

Beach House Restaurant – Koloa

We did not eat here, but it’s supposed to be the best place for sunsets on the south side of the Island. Lisa loved the snorkeling at this beach. Rob liked the cocktails. This is where he had his favorite Mai Tai – the Majestic Mai Tai with Coconut Rum, BH Potion, Bacardi 151, Dark Rum.

And just like any bar on Kuau’i, you’ll find a pineapple sitting at the bar just like anything else:


Brennecke’s – Poipu Beach

We didn’t really dine here either. We shared some pupu {appetizer} sliders and enjoyed our last Mai Tai in Hawaii here:

Last Mai Tai in Kuau’i – the napkin says it all…

I loved the area of sports team hats hanging on the wall at this bar, too. Can you find the Cheesehead?

Wall o’ hats

This is also the bar where I got to try the lychee cocktail!


Brick Oven Pizza – Kalaheo

We went out for pizza another night. And while the pizza that Rob and I ordered was so yummy that I ate half the pie {definitely not a weight-loss/habit-changing victory!}, this needn’t be a place to visit again. I tend to enjoy going places were there are some local specialties on the menu. However, this menu was distinctly that of a pizzeria.

Tidepools (at the Grand Hyatt) – Poipu

This was the highlight restaurant of the trip! We made reservations and walked just up the beach from our condo. It was that close:

These open-air thatched huts over koi-filled lagoons create an inviting ambiance that is even more lovely at night. It must be experienced! The photo above does not do this place justice.

Tidepools will be a splurge if you plan on going there. It was a bit more expensive than even our nicest restaurants in the Twin Cities. {But almost everything is more expensive in Hawaii, right?} Still, it was worth every penny for the high quality food and romantic setting. I loved feeling the breeze on my shoulders, watching the fish splash in the ponds, the tiki torch lighting. The mood was set perfectly.

This is one place where I most definitely should have taken pictures. However, to stop this temptation, I left my iPhone back at the condo. I wanted to just enjoy this evening with our group and not be a distraction.

I ordered the Mahi Mahi –  macadamia nut crusted with coconut jasmine rice, baby bok choy, tropical rum sauce & papaya-avocado relish. Doesn’t this dish just scream, “HAWAII!!!!” In any case, it was absolutely decadent. The portion size was perfect since I wasn’t having any appetizers or desserts. I would order this all over again.

The other dish I was considering was the Hawaiian Catch – soy ginger glazed and stuffed with wasabi shrimp and lobster, yukon mashed potatoes, asparagus and lemon-ginger beurre blanc. I don’t remember what fish it was that was the catch of the day. {It was something I hadn’t heard of before.} Lisa ordered this, so I had the opportunity to try it. It was very good, but I was happy with my choice because I liked mine better. I think she said that she liked hers better, so we made the right choices!

Rob ordered the New York Strip Steak – “prime” Brandt Farms Organic with manchego potato chips, black garlic steak sauce and roasted garlic hollandaise. Rob was in heaven with those homemade manchego potato chips! And while he said that the steak had great flavor, it just wasn’t his cut of meat. He couldn’t eat it all, so he gave the rest to the others at the table whose eyes rolled back in their heads with delight. I had tried it myself and had to agree with Rob – it’s all about the cut. While marbled steaks are highly revered in the meat world, we prefer ours a little leaner. {And I’m glad he does being that most of his diet consists of red meat and pork , or as Rob would say, “slow-moving land mammals.”}

The other guys ordered the Ahi – grilled with roasted garlic hollandaise, foie gras fried forbidden black rice, pea shoots, and truffle miso-eggplant sauce. I have to admit that this was another dish I had been considering. Why wouldn’t I want to enjoy fresh ahi tuna while in Hawaii? The guys loved it. I did have the opportunity to try ahi later in the week: some fresh stuff that Mike seared for us as well as some ahi poke from the deli. Both heavenly!

After dinner, we walked back to our condos in the dark. It was a romantic walk along the paths with the moon high in the sky and the only light to guide us – the tiki torches. What a lovely evening that I’ll never forget.


JJ’s Broiler – Lihue

We took in our last day of Hawaii to its fullest, as our departure flight wasn’t until 10pm. We soaked up as much more sun and fun as we could before heading towards the airport. We stopped for dinner on the water at JJ’s Broiler. I was excited because I could have one last Koko Brown Ale – it was on the menu! I ordered an Ono Sandwich because it was local fish I had not yet tried. It was a little on the dry side. But I did have my last helping of rice instead of fries, too.


Boy that does look like a lot of restaurants now that I look back. However, we didn’t eat at all of them. Furthermore, it’s not really that much when we could have eaten out for all three meals a day times seven days. We did our fair share of dining in at the condo.


Still, one day when we go back, we think we’d like to try the following;

Red Salt  – another splurge restaurant with a higher end menu

Da Imu – adorning the name of the underground oven in which kalua pork is cooked, our guide on our Na Pali Coast Boat Tour recommended this place. He said it’s more of a local dive with exceptional food. Looking at reviews online, it looks like Teriyaki Fried Chicken is a favorite!


If you have been to Kuau’i, please list your favorite restaurants and entreés so that those making a future visit will have some great recommended options!

Thanks for sharing.