MINNEAPOLIS — For those looking for a farmer-to-table dining experience for Lent, head to Farmers Kitchen + Bar for their shore lunch featuring a crispy, fried walleye sandwich or try the walleye on their supper menu, a pan seared, 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 the food produced and grown throughout Minnesota to their plate.
Chef Kris Koch, Farmers Kitchen + Bar
To sear walleye perfectly, or any fish for that matter, the secret is having the pan at just the right temperature – not too hot and not too cold. My favorite way to finish the fish is to baste it with lemon shallot butter. Prepare the side dishes and lemon shallot butter in advance so they are ready to serve with your freshly cooked walleye.
4 walleye fillets, skins removed
1-2 tablespoons cooking oil
fresh lemon juice, for finishing
Lemon Shallot Butter, for finishing (recipe follows)
1 cup of toasted rice (allow to cool before grinding, a clean coffee grinder is perfect)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Toast rice in a hot, dry skillet until aromatic and just brown.
Dust fish in ground toasted rice tossed with salt and pepper. This helps reduce any water that may be on the exterior of the fish. Heat skillet to medium-high first, then lower heat to medium and add oil. When oil is hot, cook 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 glossy side of the fillet where the skin was removed.)
After flipping the fish skin side down, sprinkle some sliced shallots and fresh herbs over the fish along with a touch of butter and a squeeze of lemon. Allow the shallots to soften and baste the fish with the herbs, butter and shallots. Finish with the Lemon Shallot Butter (recipe follows).
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup unsalted butter, softened or room temperature
1-2 pinches of salt and pepper
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
2-3 stalks of celery, left whole
½ yellow onion, left whole
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes (similar to cooking brown rice). Remove celery and onion. Check the seasoning and adjust to your liking.
Roasted Root Vegetables
1 medium-size turnip (peeled and medium diced)
1 medium-size rutabaga (peeled and medium diced)
1 small hard squash acorn or butternut (peeled and medium diced)
1 bunch Tuscan or Lacinato kale, aka dino kale (chopped large/medium)
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Toss all the diced vegetables – except the kale – in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place on a sheet pan with a drizzle of honey over the top.
Cook in a 375°F oven for 12-15 minutes or until tender and roasted. While the vegetables are still hot, transfer to a bowl and toss in the chopped kale with just a splash of sherry or cider vinegar. The heat from the roasted vegetables should wilt the kale. You can also place everything back on the sheet tray, turn off the oven and keep warm while you cook the fish. Every home oven is different so please keep this in mind, in case your oven runs hot or you have a convection oven at home.
Place cooked walleye fillets on plates, and serve with wild rice pilaf and roasted root vegetables.
Chief 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 3 – 4 times to just barely thaw the skin side of the fish. Grab a corner of the skin from the thicker end of the fillet. Hold the frozen fish in your other hand and pull the skin off. It takes a bit of timing, but once you figure out the process, it’s slick! Allow the fish to thaw in the refrigerator or leave it out on a sheet tray for about a half-hour.
You may want to remove the bones from the middle section of the fillet. To do this, cut a small ¼-inch section on the bias from the tip of the filet to the end of the belly section and pull them out. You could opt to leave these small bones in, but be aware of them when eating. They usually soften during the cooking process.
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