This delicious pan-seared walleye is made with fish seared in butter and oil, and then served with a lemon and caper pan sauce.
The first time I tried walleye fish was when vacationing with friends on Kelleys Island in Lake Erie.
It's a delicious white fish that's extremely versatile, but of course, I do have a favorite method for preparing white fish. I like to pan-sear it with butter!
This pan-seared walleye is buttery and delicious, perfect for both weeknight meals and special occasions.
Where Can I Find Walleye?
Walleye are freshwater fish often found in lakes and ponds.
They swim in cold waters such as in the Great Lakes, Missouri and Upper Mississippi Rivers, and in Canada.
What does that mean for you when you're searching for walleye? It means that, depending on where you live, it might be very easy to find or somewhat difficult.
We found walleye in Cincinnati, Ohio at Jungle Jim's, and have also enjoyed it when visiting friends who live close to Lake Erie.
What Does Pan-Seared Walleye Taste Like?
Walleye is a firm white fish. The flavor is extremely mild, without much of a "fishy" flavor.
It pairs well with buttery sauces like the one we're using here.
What If I Can't Find Walleye?
If you can't find walleye, you can make this fish with another firm, white fish such as cod or halibut.
How to Make Pan-Seared Walleye
Your walleye fillets should be dry from excess moisture (just dab them with a paper towel if needed). Coat them with flour, salt and pepper.
I like to use my Lodge 12" carbon steel skillet for pan-searing fish, but any heavy pan will work. Melt butter and olive oil in the pan, and then cook the fillets (skin-side down) for about three minutes.
Slide a thin metal spatula under the fillets (I use a Wusthof fish spatula, but the OXO fish spatula is also pretty popular). If the fish don't stick to the pan, then flip them. If they're still holding on, give them another 30 seconds or so to cook, and then try again.
Once the fillets have been turned, top each one with a little butter, and cook for a few more minutes.
The fish are done when you see them starting to turn golden, with opaque sides. Move them over to plates while you use the same pan to make the sauce.
Over medium heat, combine lemon juice and capers with the butter still remaining in the pan. Stir, add herbs, and keep stirring.
Finally, drizzle the sauce over the fish along with extra herbs, and serve right away!
Side dishes that pair well with this fish include garlic cauliflower mash or oven-roasted brussels sprouts with apple cider vinegar!
- 8 ounce walleye (2 fillets)
- 1 tablespoon flour Use gluten-free AP flour if needed
- pinch salt, pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon capers
- small handful fresh herbs (such as fresh rosemary, chives, or oregano)
- Pat walleye fillets dry. Dust with flour, and shake off any excess. Sprinkle them on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Prepare a heavy pan with the olive oil and 1 TB butter. Heat on medium-high until butter is melted but not browned, then turn the heat down to medium.Place the fillets skin-side down in the pan and cook about 3 minutes. (If your fillets don't have skin, it doesn't matter which side you cook first.)Don't touch the fillets until they're ready to flip.Use a thin metal spatula to test the fish. If you can slide the spatula under the fish without the fish sticking to the pan, it's ready to flip. If the fillets won't release, give them another 30 seconds. They'll release when they've finished cooking.After flipping, divide the remaining 1 TB butter over both fillets.
- Cook fish another 2-3 minutes until done. (Thicker fillets will take longer than thin fillets.) Fish will be golden on both the top and bottom and opaque all the way through when finished cooking.Transfer the fish to plates, leaving the excess butter in the pan. Cover fish to keep warm, or set fish in a 200ºF oven.Reduce heat to medium. Add the lemon juice and capers, and stir with a wooden spoon. Add half the herbs and stir again. Serve fish hot with pan sauce and remaining herbs.