Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I'm going to start here:

because that's what our plates looked like at the end of this meal. All of them. I never thought I would say this, but...my kids like fish. You might wonder why this is such a big deal. In the past, we have struggled to get them to eat the most basic things, particularly protein. I nearly wept for joy when Lucy finally ate a hot dog. A hot dog, for crying out loud! Not something I want to feed my kids everyday, but some basic "everybody-likes-this" food so that I could stop being the parent who had to bring peanut butter sandwiches to every picnic.

So, now, when my kids eat Walleye and wild rice pilaf and say "can we have this again?" I'm kind of bowled over.

This meal was easy to plan, we knew long before we drew Minnesota out of the box that Walleye and wild rice would be the dish. Walleye is a big deal in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. I have a good vegetarian friend from Minnesota who will only touch animal flesh if it is Walleye (and it was the only non-vegetarian option at her wedding). Recipes from fish and game sites in the upper midwest are saturated with grilled, broiled, baked, seared and fried versions of the fish. Wild rice (which is not related to the more common Asian rice at all, but is an entirely different grass seed) has been harvested by indigenous people in what is now the northern U.S. for thousands of years.

The fillets had the skin intact, which I removed with a sharp knife. They were large, and getting the skin off cleanly was more difficult the little blue gills and bass that I caught on our farm when I was a kid. The trick is to keep the knife flat, and cut yourself a little slit on one side to brace your finger and hold the fillet steady.

(Now you see the full extent of the mess in which I normally cook!)

I had never prepared Walleye before, but figured that like any light freshwater fish, it would be fine baked with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon. The fillets went into a baking dish and into the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

The rice pilaf was quite simple as well. I cooked one cup of brown rice and one cup of wild rice, separately, in chicken stock before mixing them together. The wild rice takes longer to cook (about an hour) and requires more liquid. I used 2 C stock to 1 cup brown rice and 3 C stock for the 1 cup of wild rice. I toasted a handful of slivered almonds in a cast iron skillet and added them to the rice mixture along with salt, pepper and thyme. Fresh parsley would have been nice, but I didn't have any.

This turned out to be very tasty. Maia, who normally hates rice of any kind, asked me to pack leftovers in her lunch tomorrow.

We rounded out the meal with some fresh cantaloupe and watermelon and a tomato "salad" (cut tomato with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar) all from our CSA.

Good stuff, you betcha!

Next stop: Hawaii!

1 comment:

  1. I could almost taste that rice dish myself.
    I felt like I had a little part in this meal
    since I rang up the fish when Marc came to NP to
    purchase it!

    Good job all!