Recipe: Corn-Crusted Walleye with Pancetta


Cornmeal Crusted Walleye with Pancetta, cauliflower and sweet peas     

yield: 2 servings

Minnesota walleye is flaky, meaty and has a creamy texture that pairs wonderfully with a light crunch from a cornmeal crust.  The acidity and sweetness of the white wine, tomato and peas really keep this dish bright, while the pancetta adds a sense of umami and depth of flavor to round out the dish, making your jaw tingle with happiness.  This is a great recipe for that summer catch in the freezer dying to be eaten.



2 6oz walleye fillet, deboned, skin scored or removed

1cup buttermilk

1/2cup organic cornmeal

1T garlic powder

2T paprika

Sea salt

Black pepper

2T grapeseed oil

1T butter, unsalted

Pancetta & vegetables


1/4lb Red Table Meat Co. pancetta, rinsed and skin removed then cut into 1in x 1/4in strips

1/2head cauliflower, broken down into quarter size florets

1/2c sweet peas, blanched

1/4c heirloom tomato, concassée

1 clove garlic, sliced thin

1/4c dry white wine


Preheat oven to 350f.

Submerge walleye in buttermilk for 20min-1hr.

Place pancetta and cauliflower into a medium *stainless steel sauté pan on medium/low heat and start rendering pancetta and caramelizing cauliflower, stirring every few minutes.  A nice low heat for about 20min will make sure you achieve crispy pancetta and crispy cauliflower.

In a mixing bowl place cornmeal, paprika, garlic powder and a pinch of salt and mix thoroughly.

After the walleye has been in buttermilk for the desired time, remove and season with sea salt and black pepper. Roll walleye in cornmeal mixture until fully coated.

Heat a stainless steel** sauté pan to medium heat, add grapeseed oil and butter.  Once butter has foamy and melted (but not browned) place walleye pieces into pan.  The cornmeal may soak up some of the oil and butter here, don’t be afraid to add a little more.  If the pan is too hot or dry, it will burn the cornmeal.

Place into oven for 5min.

While the walleye is in the oven and pancetta is at desired crispiness, add garlic and tomato to pan for 2min then deglaze with the white wine.  Let this liquid reduce to sec and add peas.  Warm peas through and turn off heat.

Remove the walleye from oven, gently flip walleye pieces over and brown other side of cornmeal, about 2min.

Remove the walleye from the pan once fish is fully cooked and has become tender, place onto paper towels to remove any excess oil.

Place pancetta veggies onto plate and serve with walleye.  A fresh lemon or some of my homemade tartar sauce is a great accompaniment.

**I recommend using stainless steel here because the acidity from the tomato and white wine can react and corrode aluminum or Teflon, causing it to flake off in the food, which is toxic.

Tartar sauce 

yield: 2 cups


1/2cup chopped dill pickles

1/2cup  mayo

1/2cup sour cream

2ea lemon, juiced

2ea garlic cloves, chopped into paste or preferably roasted

1/4c fresh dill, parsley and tarragon, chopped

To taste salt

To taste black pepper


In a non-reactive mixing bowl, whisk together garlic paste and lemon juice until smooth.  Add light mayo and sour cream, mix until well incorporated, then add chopped pickles and fold together. If it is a little thick you can add a little pickle juice or more lemon to get desired thickness.

Store in a container with a tight fitting lid, refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Wondering whether the DNR will be ready by the May 12 fishing opener? So are we. Read on here: 

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Born and raised in the suburbs of Saint Paul, MN, Brandon has immersed himself into being a local and sustainable advocate for delicious living. Working for the best Chef’s in the Twin Cities before becoming the Residence Chef at the Minnesota Governor’s Residence and personal Chef for the Zimmern family. Foraging, eating, parenting, writing, cycling, consulting, catering and hosting pop up dinners are what his free time entails.