Pan Fried Walleye, Tomato and Olive Relish with Lemon Thyme Potatoes and Asparagus

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Michael Haskett Plates the Pan Fried Walleye
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Pan Fried Walleye, Tomato and Olive Relish with

Lemon Thyme Potatoes and Asparagus

By Michael Haskett

As Seen on Savor Dakota Episode 2: Summer


Chef Michael Haskett of M.B. Haskett in Sioux Falls enjoys using ingredients readily available to him throughout the year.  Fishing is a popular pastime during the summer.  Haskett's corn meal coated, pan fried walleye is a wonderful way to showcase the catch of the day.  Paired with tomatoes, asparagus and potatoes, the dish elevates produce readily picked from the home garden.


Lemon Thyme Potatoes

1 Large or 2 Medium Shallot, Julienne

Thyme leaves, Fresh   

3 T. Lemon, Zest and Juice from one lemon

3/4 C. High Quality Olive Oil

12 oz.  Small New Potatoes, Halved or Quartered   

12 oz.  Asparagus, cut 1" lengths                              
Salt and Black Pepper to taste



1) Stir the shallots, thyme, lemon zest and Juice, and olive oil together in a small mixing bowl and lightly season with a little salt and pepper

2) Bring 1 gallon of water and a good pinch of salt to a simmer in a heavy bottomed sauce pan or stock pot.  Add the potatoes and simmer until they are almost tender.  Add the asparagus when the potatoes are just tender and turn off the heat.  Let the vegetables sit in the water for 90 seconds before draining in order to cook the asparagus through.

3) Drain the vegetables into a large colander, then transfer to a serving bowl.

4) Drizzle the shallot and lemon mixture over the vegetables and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper to finish seasoning. Serve.


Tomato Olive Relish

2 C. Cherry and/ or Heirloom tomatoes, large dice               

2-3  Cloves Garlic, minced                                                                                        

1 C. Good Spanish olives with pits, pits removed and rough chopped

10 large leave Fresh Basil, Chiffonade                                                                      

Salt and Black Pepper to taste

High Quality Olive Oil as needed

1/3 C. Pine nuts, toasted                                


1) Gently stir together the tomatoes, garlic, olives and basil.

2) Add olive oil generously to coat the ingredients and a little more to create a sauce.

3) Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to let the flavors meld before finishing seasoning with salt and pepper.  Lots of fresh ground pepper can be delicious, while too much salt will ruin this dish.

4) Garnish with Pine nuts.


Cornmeal Fried Walleye

4 each Walleye, 6-10 oz. filets, "Y" bones removed 

1 C. All Purpose Flour           

1 C. Corn Meal, fine or coarse                                                           

1 T. Sea Salt

2 tsp.    Black Pepper

1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper                                                                                

1 tsp.    Paprika                                                                                                          

Light flavored oil for frying as needed


Note: While Frying foods there are some important things to remember.  Having all of your tools ready before frying is crucial to having a good result.  Pans with paper towels, tongs and metal spatulas are always important to have close at hand.  Not having these things when you need them can equal burnt product while you are scrambling to find tools.  It is also very important to be safe when dealing with large amounts of hot oil. Keep ANY water or other liquids far, far away from frying oils, as even a small amount can cause an eruption of oil causing severe burns and/or a fire.

1) Mix all dry ingredients together in a shallow baking pan.

2) Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add the oil, about a half of an inch deep in the pan and let it come up to temperature. Test the temperature by sprinkling in a little of the dredge. It should bubble immediately but lightly.

3) Cover the fish in the dredge and carefully place in the hot oil.  Cook until lightly brown on one side, flip over, and cook through on the other side.

4) Remove from the oil and let dry on paper towels.  Serve.