Walleye Meuniere-Style

It has always been amazing to me that the most excellent tasting dishes are often the simplest to prepare. The recipe here for walleye done meuniere style is one I learned a long time ago. If you're not familiar with what Meuniere sauce is, it is a simple preparation of clarified butter and lemon and works well with fish.

Recipe for Walleye Meuniere

Although fairly simple, it is intimidating to most due to the flaming of the fish. However, the flames can in fact be avoided if need be (either don't cook on a gas flame or just don't ignite the alcohol with a match- simply add the alcohol and let it steam away). The main thing to remember is that the dish is incredibly easy to prepare - even while on vacation in the north woods - but the flavor is exquisite and will impress anyone who tastes it. It was inspired by one of my favorite chefs.

Note: Make sure to disconnect smoke detector before flaming the alcohol! The flame can be large but will not be "out of control." You may want to practice first...

Ingredients

  • 1 Fresh Walleye Pike, filleted (any size, but a 14 -16 inch fish - before filleting -  is perfect)
  • Flour
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 2-3 Tablespoons clarified butter
  • 1/2 fresh lemon
  • Approx 2-3 oz of 50/50 mixture of vermouth and brandy
  • 2 Tablespoons of capers
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions

Soak fillets in egg & milk mixture, then coat the fillets with a mixture of flour and bread crumbs.  A 60-40 mixture of flour to bread crumbsworks well. 

Walleye fillets soaking in egg and milk mixture

Pre-heat a heavy aluminum pan on high setting. A good test of when the pan is the right temp is to drip a small drop or two of water into the pan -- the drops should dance around but not immediately evaporate.  Then add about a capful of olive oil and the clarified butter. 

Clarified Butter is really nothing more than the oil taken from butter once it has been melted. Take about 1/3 to 1/2 of a stick of butter and melt it in a sauce pan over very low heat - this should easily give you 3 tablespoons worth. Skim the "scum" away from the surface and take the oil beneath. On the very bottom is the whey and water that is to be avoided. This oil still has all the wonderful butter flavor but will not burn until it reaches a much higher temperature than "normal" butter.  

Place the fillets in the pan rib cage-side down and sauté on high heat for two - three minutes or until the fish is browned.

Turn fish over and pour in the vermouth/brandy mixture. Tilt pan and allow alcohol mixture to ignite in order to burn off the alcohol (Alternately, use a long-reach butane lighter if cooking on an electric stove). CAUTION - this will create a large flare-up... but it will die down quickly.

Igniting the vermouth/brandy mixture

After flame begins to die out, squeeze lemon over fish and add capers.  Have warm plates ready and serve immediately.  The fillets will be moist and tender and the capers and lemon will compliment each other very well.  There will also be a very tasty sauce that should be spooned over the fish - it is excellent! 

Serve with wild rice, garlic mashed or baked potato and white wine.  You'll be amazed at how flaky, tender and tasty this fish can be!

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