Wild About Walleye

There’s something about a shore lunch of walleye that’s served with baked beans, maybe some creamed corn and pan-fried potatoes on a remote island on that makes my mouth water. Anyone who’s taken a launch trip on Lake of the Woods knows what I’m talking about.

This time of the year, a lot of people have turned their attention to angling for the elusive walleye, which is among the best-tasting freshwater fish in the world. I know several of my friends who already have hit the water.

I got to thinking about walleyes after reading some recipes from Kris Winkelman of the Winkelman family fame. Every so often, our outdoor editor, Brad Dokken, passes on an e-mail from Kris that contains a few recipes from her "Ultimate Wild Game and Fish Cookbook, which is available for $10 plus $9 shipping and handling at www.winkelman.com or (800) 333-0471.

Sometimes, I post one of the recipes on my blog under the section titled "Men Gone Wild," which as you can guess from its title is a bunch of easy-to-prepare wild game recipes that even a man without much cooking experience can make.

The latest entry is called Low-Calorie Lemon Walleye. (Click on the link to the right to view.) It’s a tasty recipe for walleye that is breaded and baked. It gives you the delicious coating that you find with deep-friend fish but without the added fat.

For those of you who might be going out fishing and are in need of a walleye shore lunch recipe, here’s one from Red Indian Lodge on Whitefish Bay on Lake of the Woods that looks mighty tasty. It’s not low-cal, but heck, we all have to splurge once in a while.

Shore Lunch Walleye
2 eggs
½ cup milk
8 walleye fillets
1 cup of cornmeal/cracker crumbs
1 pound lard
1 pound bacon
Beat eggs and milk in empty minnow bucket. Dip fillets in mixture and coat with cornmeal/cracker crumbs and set aside. Fry bacon over open campfire with ¼ of the lard in a large cast-iron skillet. Remove bacon and serve as an appetizer.
Next, add balance of lard and place fillets (rib cage side up) in pan. Fry to a golden brown
on each side, approximately 4 minutes. Serve with your favorite sides such as baked beans and fried potatoes.

Shrimp Stir-Fry

Pollock is on the menu tonight when I’ll be the guest server at this Lenten season’s first fish fry put on by the East Grand Forks Sacred Heart Men’s Club. (The annual fundraiser for the Sacred Heart High School’s athletic department will continue each Friday night until Good Friday on April 2.)

For those of you interested in attending, we will start serving meals that also include coleslaw, a baked potato and homemade buns beginning at 5 p.m. I believe the cost is about $7 or $8, which is quite a bargain considering you get two nice fillets (and homemade tartar sauce).

It will be my second meal of fish this week. On Ash Wednesday, we had baked walleye and shrimp. I used some store-bought coating made by Shore Lunch. It’s pretty good, although not as tasty as the breading at the Sacred Heart event.

What I did find out, though, was that the coating worked well with the shrimp, which were baked for about 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees. (You dip them in egg first.) They came out nice and crispy and reminded me of the deep-fried version that I enjoy at some Chinese buffets. But what made them better was that the coating for the shrimp wasn’t laden with oil.

I have another bag or two of shrimp in the freezer and hope to fix them the same way shortly. It will be a good way to celebrate the Chinese New Year. (Incidently, it’s the Year of the Tiger.)

Speaking of Chinese cooking, here’s a stir-fry recipe for shrimp that also looks like it might be worth trying.

Stir-Fried Egg Noodles with Shrimp, Chili and Bean Sprouts
¼ cup vegetable oil
12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left on
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 piece (1½ inches long) ginger root, cut into 12 slices
1 16-ounce package fresh, flat egg noodles, cooked al dente
2 tablespoons each: Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, soy sauce
1 tablespoon malt vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 large red chili, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 cup bean sprouts (optional)
Heat wok or skillet over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to the wok; heat until shimmering slightly. Add shrimp; stir-fry until pink, about 2 minutes. Remove from wok or skillet; set aside. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil; stir-fry the garlic, red onion and ginger 1 minute.
Add the noodles, reserved shrimp, wine, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and sesame oil; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add half of the green onions, half of the chili and the bean sprouts. Stir-fry until the shrimp are just cooked through and noodles are hot, about 30 seconds. Remove ginger; discard. Serve in bowls; top with remaining green onions and chili.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 625 calories, 26 percent of calories from fat, 18 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 32 milligrams cholesterol, 94 grams carbohydrates, 22 grams protein, 700 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.