Recipe For Health
by Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski
Featured Food: Walleye Yield: Serves 6 Learn more about Walleye


  • Topping for Fish:
  • 2 T. Olive Oil
  • 2 T. Diced Shallots
  • ½ c. Sliced Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 1 T. Minced Garlic
  • 2 c. Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 2 T. White Wine
  • Zest of ½ Lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Assembling and Cooking the Fish:
  • 2 fillets of Walleye Fish
  • 1 t. Kosher Salt
  • ½ t. Black Pepper
  • 1 c. flour
  • Sauce
  • 1 T. Olive Oil
  • 2 T. Diced Shallots
  • 2 T. Chopped Fresh Tarragon
  • 1 Whole Roasted Red Pepper
  • ½ c. White Wine Vinegar
  • ½ c. White Wine
  • 4 oz. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
  • Salt and pepper to Taste


Toppings for Fish:
Warm olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat; add shallots and sweat for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté for four minutes. Then add garlic, spinach, and the white wine while sautéing for two minutes or until spinach has wilted and is cooked through but has not lost its bright green color. Add lemon zest and salt, then remove from heat and set aside.

Warm olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat; add shallots and sweat* for one minute. Add tarragon, vinegar and wine. Bring mixture to a simmer. To make a reduction, cook until most of the liquid evaporates and there is only about four tablespoons of mixture remaining. Remove from heat.

Place roasted red pepper in blender, blend until fairly smooth. Add to reduction in sauté pan. Over medium heat, bring sauce to simmer. Add butter in one Tablespoon amounts. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  

Assembling and Cooking the Fish:
Lay out fish fillets meat side up. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Cut each filet into three equal portions using a bias cut. Then lightly dredge each fillet into the flour on both sides, coating the fish.

Warm olive oil in a non-stick sauté pan over medium high heat. Place fish in the pan skin side down and cook for four minutes to sear and lightly brown. Turn and cook on other side for three to four minutes or until fish has started to flake apart. 

Place 2 ounces of sauce on each plate. Place fish on the sauce with the skin side up. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the topping on the fish and serve.  

Learn More About Walleye

If you live or fish in Canada, you may call them yellow pickerel. Here in the Great Lakes state, they’re walleye, the wildly-popular perch whose name comes from their large opaque eyes that reflect light. This attribute serves them well in the low light conditions at dawn and dusk and rough waters where they prefer to feed.

Lake Erie is by far the largest producer of walleye, for both sport and commercial fishing. In 1970, Lake Erie was closed to fishing due to mercury contamination. While Lake Erie recovered well and reopened to anglers in 1974, contamination remains an issue for carnivorous fish like walleye because they feed in the lake for four or more years before they reach legal-catch size.

Even if you choose smaller-sized fish, you should not eat walleye more than once per week, less often if you are a woman of child bearing age or a child less than 15 years old. A great reference is the fish advisory from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

For freshness sake, it’s best to buy fish on the same day you plan to cook it. If you’re not cooking it the minute you get home, take it out of the package, pat it dry with a paper towel, put it in a zipper-lock bag and seal it with as little air in the bag as possible. Then place your repackaged fish on a bed of ice in the refrigerator. Once the ice melts, replenish it. This will keep your fish fresh but only for one day.

Walleye’s flavor is enhanced with mild seasonings whether you pan-fry, grill, bake in parchment (en papillote) or follow our chef’s recipe. No matter how you cook your fish, bring it to an internal temperature of 145°F, being careful to cook it just until it’s no longer shiny in the center.

Peggy Crum, MA, RD

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