Sunday cooking adventures: Pan-seared pickerel


Regular readers of this blog know that our family loves oven-fried fish. But sometimes i just want plain fish that isn’t adorned with a lot of other — stuff.  So while I fixed oven-fried orange roughy for my husband, for myself, I pan seared and roasted a piece of pickerel with lemon and white wine. It was very easy to do.



First I sprinkled pepper and garlic powder (and a little salt since I knew my husband, who is on a low sodium diet, wasn’t going to eat it). Then I seared both sides of the fish in a hot pan with olive oil. And then I put about 1/2 cup white wine and squeezed a lemon over it all and stuck it in the oven, pan and all, uncovered for six minutes on 350 degrees.  It was a great, low calorie way to enjoy fish. I paired it with green beens (about the only green vegetable my husband can eat) and roasted corn on the cob with olive oil, chili powder and garlic powder (see recipe here).  Overall a great dinner.

Here’s the recipe. About 10 years ago, then Free Press food writer Sylvia Rector wrote about chefs’ techniques for cooking fish, and this was one of them. Current food writer Susan Selasky tested it and it still holds up all these years later.  It’s a technique that’s a winner and works with just about any firm fish. You could experiment and change the flavor with butter, chicken broth, our your favorite juice. Try it, you might surprise yourself.


Pan seared pickerel (or walleye)

1 large pickerel filet
2 teaspoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1/2 cup white wine (or whatever flavorful liquid you have)
1/2  to one whole lemon

1) If you have a large piece of fish, cut it in half so it fits in a  skillet. Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste on both sides of fish. Heat skillet on medium high heat. Add olive oil, swirl around to cover bottom of pan. Add fish, flesh side down, and sear for 2 minutes. Turn over and sear for two minutes.

2) Add white wine and as much lemon juice as you like to fish. Put entire pan in oven (make sure pan is cast iron or other ovenproof pan), uncovered, and bake for about six minutes on 350 degrees, until fish is done. Remove pan with potholders from oven. Serve hot.

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