Summer in the City-Walleye St. Paul

When in St. Paul, do as the, well, what do you call folks who live in St. Paul? Ok, just do as the St. Paulians do. (???) What I mean here is this: wherever you go out to eat, you find one common denominator on the menu. It is


Fried, grilled, boiled, baked… well, probably not baked. Probably not boiled. But walleye it is and my husband has fallen in love with it. One day, I thought, well, what the fish, I can cook walleye. I trucked down the street two blocks to the nearest grocery. On the way, I saw

This beautiful city garden… Pots full of tomatoes, herbs, onions, peppers, you name it. St. Paul is into the Victory Garden big time. There are many front yards turned into veg gardens, but this one stole my heart. Even in apartments, people with a heart for fresh food find a way.
I couldn’t resist photographing it. And also——————

Another beautiful example of a city garden in my friend Margo’s backyard. Could summer get any better? Keep walking in your own neighborhoods; what lovely places do you find?

Of course, you might have to stop at Thomas Liquors on your walk. Surely a great bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir rose (08) would be jumping into your bag since you knew you were cooking Walleye St. Paul tonight. Just missed the yearly 20% off sale and had to pay full price. God is good; rose is tres chic and tres cheap. They love dogs there; bring your pooch.

Back east a block to Whole Foods for some fresh berries for breakfast yogurt, as well as the fresh fillet of walleye. Of course the fishmonger said there were no bones. Of course he lied.

Trekking home, bag full of rose and walleye, I knew how blessed I was. #1 I was living and studying in such a phenomenal place. #2 I had the money to buy the food I needed. #3 I had the ability to fix it in a healthy place with safe water. #4 I had someone I loved waiting for dinner with me. Answers to prayers asked and unasked.

Of course, I had to figure out what in the world to do to the walleye once I got it back to the apartment. I’d love to know what YOU do with walleye.

So here’s what I came up with based on available ingredients and my need for a healthy dinner quickly. Basic formula: saute greens w/ onions; add fish. Eat.

WALLEYE ST. PAUL serves 2-3

1 med yellow potato, sliced thinly

Cooking spray, such as PAM

1 BIG bunch Swiss Chard, greens only, sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic minced

1 medium onion, diced

2T olive oil, divided (Keep reading)

2 cups fresh spinach leaves

Kosher Salt and freshly ground-pepper

3 3-4 oz. walleye fillet, dusted with flour seasoned with salt and pepper

1 medium tomato, diced

1/2 fresh lemon

Spray grill pan well with cooking spray and heat pan to medium. Place sliced potatoes onto pan and salt and pepper well. Cook until brown on one side; turn and cook until brown and tender. Remove to plates; cover w/ foil.

Heat 12-14 inch saute pan with 1 T olive oil and add onion. Cook until just beginning to be soft and add chopped chard. Cook 2-3 minutes; add garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. Add spinach. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Remove all vegetables to plate and cover to keep warm.

Add other tablespoon olive oil to pan and carefully place floured and seasoned walleye fillets in pan. Cook over medium heat until one side is light brown; turn and cook until just done, about five minutes.

Divide vegetables between plates containing potatoes and top chard with a piece of fish, reserving third piece for seconds for hungry person. (Or tomorrow’s eggs) Garnish fish with chopped tomato and serve while warm.
Squeeze fresh lemon over entire plate. Watch for tiny bones.

MUST READING: Michael Pollen’s food piece in the NYTIMES Magazine today (Sunday, 8/2/09)). Be human; cook. Along with our thumbs, it’s what separates us from the other animals says one part of the long, but excellent article.

I’M LISTENING TO: Bernstein’s MASS. I perhaps have no choice, as it’s one of my conducting pieces for the week. Pray for my shoulder to relax as I learn to beat 5/8 in relaxed mode. If you think this is possible, tell me how.

This is our last week in St. Paul. Next weekend, it’s a long, leisurely drive back to the Springs with our sweet pup. I’ll miss the ‘hood so much, but will be so very glad to get home. On the way…Badlands and Mt. Rushmore.

Here’s Gabby (right) with good buddy Max… Gab will miss her. Me, too.

Sing a new song as you cook from scratch; this is faster than going out for fast food!


2 thoughts on “Summer in the City-Walleye St. Paul

  1. Yeah, Alyce is coming home!! I have loved all of your articles. I've read them faithfully, and as the occasion arises I will cook some of the recipes. Mostly, I'm just learning to cook at home, and invite others in to my less-than-perfectly-clean home anyway. Thank you for your wisdom!

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