Walleye Meuniere Recipe

You won't find a lot of real English Channel Dover Sole in Midwest supermarkets, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy traditional Sole Meuniere using an equally amazing fish such as Walleye.

Pan-frying fish with skin-on is not that difficult, and makes a nice change to typical dinner fare. 

I used to eat a lot of Dover Sole Meuniere in Belgium, and it remains perhaps my favorite fish dish. I've made it at home using store-bought "Dover Sole" which I suspect did not really come from the English Channel, as the texture was a bit mushy. The flavor, however, was right up there with restaurant quality.

Costco has been selling Walleye fillets recently for $9.99/lb, so I've been cooking them a number of different ways. Nothing beats Meuniere style, but it's not the healthiest way to eat fish. For a healthier and easier approach, skip the flour, cook it in vegetable or canola oil as described below for skin-on fish, then pour over the simple sauce from my Cajun Tilapia recipe.

The recipe below is adapted from Sole Meuniere with Browned Butter Caper Sauce on Foodnetwork.com. My approach is a little simpler, and adds in some cooking tips from the excellent book The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt.


The skin-on fillets are cooked almost entirely with the skin down, then finished quickly skin-up.

TOTAL TIME: 40 min

  • Prep:      20 min
  • Cook:     15 min
  • Rest:        5 min

YIELD:   2 servings

LEVEL:  Medium


DIRECTIONS

Get the sauce ready. Melt 2 tbsp of real butter by microwaving it in a bowl, then add the minced capers and lemon juice. 

Prepare the fish. Dry the fish using paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge the fillets in flour until fully coated.

Clarify butter for frying. Put 2 tbsp real butter in a non-stick sauce pan over medium heat. It will foam up, and then the foam will start breaking up a bit. Strain the foam out by pouring the mixture through a coffee filter into a bowl. This will take a couple of minutes to get the clear brown butter through the filter.

Cook the fish. Wipe the pan out with paper towels and pour the clarified brown butter back in. Turn to medium high heat. When the butter is shimmering, add the fillets with skin facing down. Immediately reduce the heat to medium low.

Press down on the fillets gently with a spatula for a minute or so to ensure the skin makes good contact with the pan surface.

Continue cooking for about 5 minutes total, monitoring temperature in the thickest part.

Flip the fish when the internal temperature is ballpark 110F. If you wait much longer than this, your fish will be overcooked by the time you lightly brown the other side. 

Finish cooking, skin up, until the internal temperature is 130F.

Remove the fillets and let rest on paper towels for 5 minutes.

Pour the sauce bowl into the remaining brown butter and drippings. Stir on medium heat until all brown.

Move the fish to a serving platter, then pour the sauce over the fish and serve.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Walleye fillets, skin-on
  • 4 tbsp real butter
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained and minced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Flour to coat fish
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon slices for garnish (optional)

SPECIAL KITCHEN TOOLS

  • Coffee filter for straining melted butter
  • Instant-read thermometer

More Photos

Get the sauce ready. Melt 2 tbsp of real butter by microwaving it in a bowl, then add the minced capers and lemon juice. 

I used skin-on fillets from costco.

Prepare the fish. Dry the fish using paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge the fillets in flour until fully coated.

Clarify the butter. Put 2 tbsp real butter in a non-stick sauce pan over medium heat. It will foam up as shown.

When the foam starts breaking up a bit as shown, it is ready to be strained. 

Strain the foam out by pouring the mixture through a coffee filter into a bowl. This will take a couple of minutes to get the clear brown butter through the filter.

Cook the fish. Wipe the pan out with paper towels and pour the clarified brown butter back in. Turn to medium high heat. When the butter is shimmering, add the fillets with skin facing down. Immediately reduce the heat to medium low.

Press down on the fillets gently with a spatula for a minute or so to ensure the skin makes good contact with the pan surface. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes total, monitoring temperature in the thickest part. Flip the fish when the internal temperature is ballpark 110F. 

Finish cooking, skin up, until the internal temperature is 130F.

Remove the fillets and let rest on paper towels for 5 minutes.

Pour the sauce bowl into the remaining brown butter and drippings. Stir on medium heat until all brown.Move the fish to a serving platter, then pour the sauce over the fish and serve.