Panfried Pickerel with Cannellini Bean Salad

Panfried Pickerel by The Aimless Cook

Pickerel, or walleye as its sometimes known as, is a freshwater fish native to Canada and parts of the Northern US. It has a nice white meat that is flaky and tender, perfect for pan-frying. Today, I’m going to show you a simple pan-fry recipe and make a nice beurre noisette (brown butter) sauce in the same pan. To go with our pickerel, I’m making a nice cannellini bean salad. This makes for a nice and easy weekday dinner, so let’s get cooking!

For the salad, you will need:

  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 handful of grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ package mixed greens
  • 375g Cannellini beans (white kidney, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 handful parsley (flatleaf if you got it, chopped)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • S&P

For the rest:

  • 2 pickerel fillets, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons, butter
  • olive oil
  • parsley, chopped
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • S&P

To make the salad, start by making a dressing with 3 tablespoons of a good quality extra virgin olive oil with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt to season and mix well to emulsify.

In a large bowl, add the cucumber, 75g of mixed greens, a handful of halved grape tomatoes, a three finger pinch of chopped parsley and the cannellini beans. Add the dressing and toss lightly to combine. Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper. Put a nice generous serving on each plate and set aside.

For the rest, start by scoring the skin of 2 pickerel fillets and seasoning with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat up a pan on high heat and add a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of butter. When the pan is hot, add the pickerel, skin side down to the pan and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes, or until the fish comes free from the pan. You need to build that beautiful crust.

Turn the fish over and cook the other side for an additional 2-3 minutes. When the fish is done, take out of the pan and set a piece on each of the plates of salad.

In the same pan, melt another pat of butter on medium low heat and cook until it starts to brown. When you start to see the brown particles in the butter, remove from the heat, add the juice of 1 lemon and half a handful of chopped parsley. Season with a pinch of salt and spoon the brown butter sauce over the cooked fish and salad. Enjoy!

The cannellini beans brings a nice creaminess to the whole dish and complements the acidity of the dressing. The dried cranberries are a nice bit of sweetness that adds a touch of colour to the whole dish. If you don’t have pickerel, any white fish will do, including cod, halibut or even catfish. This dish is light, yet hearty enough with the beans to fill you up without having to make rice. Take this recipe, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen.

Pickerel or Walleye – what do you call it where you come from?
Special thanks to my friends over at Dor-Bel Fine Foods and Mustafa from Nefiss Lezziz

One Response to Panfried Pickerel with Cannellini Bean Salad

  1. Maggie says:

    Around here (east-central Alberta), a walleye has always been a pickerel. My dad used to catch them, along with jackfish (northern pike), but fresh pickerel was always the best. Tender, flaky, never “fishy” like an old jack could get in late summer … a perfect vessel for butter, lemon and thyme. Pickerel has been catch and release only for decades now, so our kids never had anything but jack.

    Fast-forward to this year when our son, now 30 and living in the city, came to visit and went out fishing by himself. He came in breathless with excitement and showed us the big jack he’d caught. It put up a heck of a fight, he said, and nearly jumped out of the net as he was hauling it in. Tipped over the bucket in the boat, too, so he’d given it a good whack on the head with the wrench.

    Too bad he’d missed the fact that it had a big fin on its back.

    Best “jackfish” we’ve had in years… ;-)

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