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What's cookin: Walleye season is here; Enjoy!

Walleye is a popular food in Minnesota during fishing season.

By Linda Smith / For the Enterprise

It’s the day Park Rapids has been anticipating literally for years—Gov. Mark Dayton is kicking off the opening of the Minnesota fishing season in our lovely corner of the world! Although the weather has certainly caused many a sleepless night to those who have put so much into the planning of this event, lots of ingenious ideas for how to get the ice off Fish Hook Lake have given some light-hearted comic relief. However, it is now time to let the fun begin. Walleye will be caught (whether on open water or on ice), and much enjoyment will be had by our visitors as well as our local residents. Well done, Park Rapids and surrounding communities!

Minnesota Walleye and Wild Rice

2 lbs. walleye fillets

1 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

4 slices bacon, diced

1 c. chopped fresh mushrooms

1/4 c. minced onion

1/3 c. minced celery

2 1/2 c. cooked wild rice (use the good stuff, not paddy rice, please)

2 T. snipped fresh parsley

1/2 t. salt

2 T. butter, melted

Mushroom-Walnut Sauce (below)

3 T. snipped fresh parsley

Cut fillets into serving-size portions; place in well-greased baking pan. Sprinkle fillets with 1 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper. In skillet, fry bacon until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, onion and celery; cook and stir until tender. Stir in cooked rice, 2 T. parsley and 1/2 t. salt. Spoon a heaping 1/2 c. of rice mixture on top of each fillet. Drizzle melted butter over rice. Bake, covered, in a preheated 350-degree oven until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, about 20 minutes. To serve: With a long pancake turner, transfer fillets to dinner plates. Spoon a dollop of Mushroom-Walnut Sauce over rice. Sprinkle with 3 T. parsley. Pass remaining sauce. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Mushroom-Walnut Sauce

3 T. butter

1 T. minced shallot

1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms

3 T. flour

1/2 t. dry mustard

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. dried thyme, crumbled

1 pint half-and-half (2 c.)

1/4 t. chopped, toasted walnuts

Melt butter in saucepan; sauté shallot and mushrooms until tender. Blend in flour, mustard, salt and thyme. Gradually stir in half-and-half. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil; boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in walnuts. Yields 2 1/2 cups.

Walleye Whopper


1 c. cold water

1/4 c. dry white wine

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

Combine water and wine. Whisk in flour, baking powder and salt until smooth.

4 (4- to 6-oz.) skinless, boneless walleye fillets

1/4 c. all-purpose flour

Cooking oil for deep-fat frying

4 warm buns

4 lettuce leaves

Tartar sauce

Rinse fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Halve crosswise. Coat fillets with flour; dip in batter. Fry fillets in large skillet of hot oil for 3-5 minutes. Remove; drain on paper towels. Keep warm. Serve on buns with lettuce and tartar sauce. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Walleye Almandin

Walleye fillets


Toasted almonds

Clarified butter*

Season fillets of walleye. Line broiler pan with foil; butter the foil. Arrange fillets on foil in broiler pan. Brush fillets generously with melted butter. Broil until fish flakes or bake in a 450-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Watch carefully so that fish does not overcook. Serve with toasted almonds sprinkled and clarified butter poured on top of each fillet. *To clarify butter, melt it in a saucepan and then skim off the foamy residue on top.

Gunflint Trail Walleye Cakes

1 small red onion

2 celery stalks

2 T. butter

5 walleye fillets (about 10 oz. of fish)

1 1/2 c. panko flakes or fine breadcrumbs

1 c. mayonnaise

1/2 t. cayenne pepper

Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Finely chop the onion and celery and sauté in butter until translucent. Coarsely puree in a food processor. Cook the walleye by steaming or pan frying until flaky and white. Mix walleye, onion and celery mixture, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Form into cakes and pan sear. Finish in the oven at 350 degrees to heat through.

Walleye Chowder

8 slices bacon, diced

4 T. unsalted butter

2 small onions, finely diced

4 t. all-purpose flour

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 t. paprika

2 celery ribs, finely diced

1 (16-oz.) bottle clam juice

2 c. water

1 c. heavy cream

1 lb. potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch diced pieces

1 1/2 lbs. raw walleye fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 T. minced fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

In heavy saucepan, cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring until crisp, and then transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off fat in pan and cook onion, carrot and celery in butter over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Sprinkle flour over mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Stir in paprika and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add clam juice water and cream. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add potato to mixture and simmer chowder, uncovered, for 12 minutes or until potatoes are cooked. Stir in fish and simmer just until walleye is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, bacon and salt and pepper to taste. Yields 4 servings.