MINNEAPOLIS — For those looking for a farmer-to-table dining experience this Lent, head to Farmers Kitchen + Bar for their lunch ashore with a crispy fried pickerel sandwich or try pickerel on their supper menu, skillet , served with wild rice pilaf and seasonal vegetables.
Farmers Kitchen + Bar is a farmer owned restaurant and market. Their mission is to connect guests to local family farmers by bringing food produced and grown throughout Minnesota to their plate.
Entrance of walleye
Chef Kris Koch, Farmers Kitchen + Bar
To perfectly sear walleye, or any fish for that matter, the key is to have the pan at the right temperature – neither too hot nor too cold. My favorite way to finish the fish is to drizzle it with lemon shallot butter. Make the sides and lemon shallot butter ahead of time so they’re ready to serve with your freshly baked pickerel.
4 skinless walleye fillets
1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil
fresh lemon juice, for garnish
Lemon shallot butter, to finish (recipe follows)
1 cup toasted rice (allow to cool before grinding, a clean coffee grinder is fine)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Toast the rice in a hot, dry skillet until aromatic and just brown.
Sprinkle fish with ground grilled rice seasoned with salt and pepper. This helps reduce water that may be on the outside of the fish. Heat the pan over medium-high heat first, then lower the heat to medium and add the oil. When the oil is hot, cook the fillets skin side down in two batches for 3 to 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 was removed.)
After turning the fish skin side down, sprinkle sliced shallots and fresh herbs over the fish with a touch of butter and a squeeze of lemon. Let the shallots soften and baste the fish with the herbs, butter and shallots. Finish with the Lemon Shallot Butter (recipe below).
1 lemon, zested and squeezed
1 cup unsalted butter, softened or at room temperature
1-2 pinches of salt and pepper
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Put aside.
2-3 celery stalks, left whole
½ yellow onion, left whole
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes (similar to cooking brown rice). Remove celery and onion. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.
Roasted vegetable roots
1 medium turnip (peeled and medium diced)
1 medium rutabaga (peeled and medium diced)
1 small hard acorn or butternut squash (peeled and medium diced)
1 bunch Tuscan kale or Lacinato, aka dino kale (coarse/medium chopped)
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
Apple cider vinegar splash
Toss all the diced vegetables – except the kale – in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet with a drizzle of honey on top.
Bake at 375°F for 12-15 minutes or until tender and roasted. While the vegetables are still hot, transfer them to a bowl and add the chopped kale with just a little sherry or cider vinegar. The heat from the roasted vegetables should cause the kale to wilt. You can also put everything back on the hob, turn off the oven and keep warm while the fish cooks. Every household oven is different, so keep that in mind, in case your oven heats up or you have a convection oven at home.
Arrange the cooked walleye fillets on plates and serve with wild rice pilaf and roasted root vegetables.
Chef Kris Golden Hack:
To remove the skin from frozen pickerel, make sure the fish is still frozen. Run the skin side under running tap water at room temperature 3 to 4 times to barely 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 your other hand and remove the skin. It takes a bit of time, but once you understand the process, it’s easy! Let the fish thaw in the refrigerator or leave it on a plate for about half an hour.
You may want to remove the bones from the middle part of the tenderloin. To do this, cut a small ¼ inch section at an angle from the tip of the fillet to the end of the belly section and pull them out. You can choose to leave these small bones, but be careful when eating. They usually soften during the cooking process.
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