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.
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.
Then I seasoned it with salt and pepper. I repeated this on the other side. This blog is not titled Season It Already! for nothing.
I 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.
I drizzled it with the same Tuscan Herb olive oil and seasoned it with some salt and pepper as well.
Dinner was Served!
Eating 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.
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!
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.
Before 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.
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?