It was like a shore lunch - with a kick.
Local chefs Matt Annand and Jon Pulsifer concocted several tasty walleye dishes as part of a "Dueling Chefs" segment during the "How to Catch and Cook Walleye" program Saturday at Northland Arboretum - a sort of kickoff to the upcoming walleye opener May 9.
While his walleye tacos were being enjoyed, Matt Annand, executive chef/owner at Prairie Bay Grill and Catering in Baxter, cut rolls of walleye sushi he had prepared in advance of Saturday's program. » Purchase reprints of this photo.
The program kicked off with a presentation by local fishing guide Dan "Walleyedan" Eigen. It was good stuff, good information. But the 40 or so in attendance could be forgiven for not hanging on Eigen's every word, what with the sound of walleye sizzling in skillets in the background and the aroma of fresh, cooked walleye.
So by the time Eigen was done, so was lunch.
Jon Pulsifer, executive chef at Renata's Restaurant and Catering in Brainerd, placed fresh basil leaves on his Italian breaded walleye. » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Annand, executive chef/owner at Prairie Bay Grill and Catering in Baxter, prepared walleye tacos that were easy on the pallet and the eyes, what with their color-bursting ingredients. He also prepared - in advance - walleye sushi, explaining that the walleye wasn't raw, as is often the case with sushi, but rather was breaded with almonds and cooked before being combined with rice, carrots, red bell peppers and scallions, pressed into rolls and then refrigerated.
Matt Annand's walleye sushi, rolled and prepared prior to Saturday's program. » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Pulsifer, executive chef at Renata's Restaurant and Catering in Brainerd, countered with an equally tasty Italian breaded walleye dish with lemon caper butter.
"It's simple, easy, but fresh," Pulsifer said of the dish.
Jon Pulsifer's pan-fried Italian breaded walleye. » Purchase reprints of this photo.
And for many, that's the key. When asked how he likes to prepare walleye, Eigen didn't hesitate with an answer: shore-lunch style. And when in a hurry, a walleye fillet in the microwave, topped with a dab of butter.
Matt Annand's walleye tacos.
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Ah, the taste of the opener.
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