The Land of 10,000 Lakes provides ample opportunity to dangle a line in the cool water and hopefully catch a fish. With the fishing opener behind us and a whole summer to fill with lakes to explore, you will need ideas to cook up all your catch. And if you snag the ever-popular walleye, even better—you can make your own sandwiches with it.
“One of my favorite things in this world is a big, fat walleye sandwich,” says Twin Cities food writer Keane Amdahl in his book, Lake Fish: Modern Cooking with Freshwater Fish. Here in Minnesota, it’s basically a staple and can be found in restaurants all across the state, he adds, but it’s even better when you can make it for yourself at home (or the cabin). The sandwich itself is simply fried fish, some crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes, and a tangy tartar sauce on a nice, soft bun says Amdahl. Feel free to use your favorite tartar sauce, but he also included a recipe for one he likes to whip together just for this sandwich.
In addition to walleye, the book also includes a range of recipes to make the most of your local freshwater catch including Crispy Bass and Basil Stir-Fry, Pecan-Crusted Catfish with Honey Mustard Sauce, Grilled Northern with Sauce Vierge, and more. (The book is available at local independent, chain, and online booksellers or from mnhspress.org.)
Now all you need to do is get fishing—well, and also “catching”!
Classic Minnesota-Style Walleye Sandwich
Makes 4 servings
For the Tartar Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely minced spicy bread and butter pickles
1 tablespoon pickle juice
For the Fish
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten
4 (4- to 6-ounce) skinless walleye fillets
4 soft hoagie buns, split
1. Make the tartar sauce: In a small mixing bowl, stir together mayo, pickles, and pickle juice. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.
2. Set up a basic frying station. Divide the flour evenly between two large plates and place the beaten egg on a third. Dredge the fish fillets through the flour, then the egg, and then the second plate of flour, making sure they’re completely coated. Set aside.
3. Place a medium to large skillet over medium-high heat and add about 1 to 2 cups oil, enough to come at least halfway up the fillets; do not fill the skillet more than halfway. Heat oil to 350°F, and then add in 2 fillets and fry until the bottom side is completely golden brown and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and finish cooking the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels, seasoning with salt as soon as the fish comes out of the fryer. Repeat with the other fillets. Place the fish on the slit hoagie bun, spread with tartar sauce, and pile on the lettuce and tomato.
Recipe and image from Lake Fish: Modern Cooking with Freshwater Fish by Keane Amdahl published by Minnesota Historical Society Press, used with permission.