While a good old fashioned walleye fish fry is hard to beat, this recipe is a great option to try when you are off the boat and don’t want to take a lot of time or effort to create an incredibly special, healthy and delicious meal at home from your latest catch!
Walleye are a great firm and flaky fresh water fish that makes some of the best eating in North America! One of the best times to catch this delicious fish is during the post spawn time, generally April to June depending on your location with warmer climates having a more successful earlier season.
We recommend casting a variety of lines and lures but trying to focus around the shore, the cooler shallower water where walleye are typically feeding on smaller bait fish.
We have more articles about getting that fish on the boat, but for now, we suggest you check out this recipe and give it a shot next time you reel one in yourself!
Watch a short video featuring Chef Cuco preparing this Walleye filet.
Pan Seared Walleye with Crispy Polenta Cake & Sautéed Spinach
Prep Time: 45-minutes | Cook Time: 30-minutes | Total Time: 1 hour 15-minutes
For the Walleye
- 4 Walleye filets
- 6 oz. Salted butter
- 1 Tbsp. Rosemary
- 1 Tbsp. Thyme
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
For the Polenta Cake
- 2 Cups Polenta (coarse yellow cornmeal)
- 6 Cups water
- 4 oz. Parmesan Cheese (Grated)
- 4 oz. Butter
For the Spinach
- 8 oz. Spinach (Blanched)
- 2 oz. Roasted Red Pepper
- 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil
- 6 Cloves of Garlic
For the Lemon Caper Sauce
- 6 oz. Salted butter
- 1 fresh squeezed lemon
- 2 Tbsp. capers
Preparing your polenta cakes
We recommend preparing your polenta cakes ahead to save time!
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F
- Prepare a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray or butter
- Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Slowly mix in your polenta (cornmeal).
- Reduce heat and allow to simmer uncovered for 3-5 minutes (until smooth consistency)
- Incorporate parmesan cheese and salt & pepper to taste
- Pour your mixture into the baking dish and place immediately into the oven for 40-minutes
- Remove from oven and allow to cool
- When preparing to serve the main course, cut out your polenta cakes and sear in butter in a pan over high-heat for 2-minutes per side to achieve crispiness.
Cooking your walleye
- Melt 6 oz. butter in a large skillet/sauté pan over high heat
- Season your walleye filet with salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme mixture
- Place walleye filet skin side facing UP into the pan – you should hear a loud sizzle
- Allow walleye to cook for a short amount of time (4-6 minutes depending on the size of your filet).
- Flip your walleye and allow it to sear and cook fully for another 2-3 minutes.
Cooking your spinach
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan
- Add your garlic (diced, or minced are all OK)
- Allow the garlic to get a nice golden-brown color
- Add 8 oz. of blanched spinach – spread your spinach and allow oil and garlic to coat
- Add your roasted red peppers
- Add a pinch of salt to taste
Prepare your lemon caper sauce
- Heat 4 oz. Salted butter in a small sauce pan
- Squeeze and mix in juice from an entire fresh lemon
- Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons capers
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