Michael Ruhlman's Shallow-Poached Walleye with White Wine-Shallot Sauce

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Michael Ruhlman's Shallow-Poached Walleye with White Wine-Shallot Sauce
  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time:30 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes
This recipe appears in:
Dinner Tonight: Michael Ruhlman's Shallow-Poached Walleye with White Wine-Shallot Sauce

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Adapted from Michael Ruhlman's Ruhlman's Twenty

Why I Picked This Recipe: Over the years, I've grown to appreciate fresh walleye from Canada. But honestly I was mostly intrigued to see how this sauce would work. Though not difficult, this kind of French-inspired dish is not something I cook often. I looked forward to the challenge.

What Worked: Of course, the fish is carefully cared for here, and walleye is one delicious fish. I suppose the best thing I could say is that the tart and creamy sauce doesn't try to cover up the flavor of the fish. Instead, it just accents it in a very delicate way.

What Didn't: It's a very light meal, but that's the point. Everything here worked as directed.

Suggested Tweaks: If you can't track down walleye, Ruhlman also recommends grouper, snapper, and halibut. You can serve this with whatever you'd like, but Ruhlman's cauliflower recipe in the same book—which takes a while and uses more butter than you can probably imagine—is definitely worth trying at least once.

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is the editor of Serious Eats: Chicago. He loves tacos and spicy food. You can follow him as @nickdk on Twitter.


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 walleye fillets, about six ounce each, skin removed
  • fine sea salt
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


  1. 1.

    Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and the tablespoon of flour to a small bowl, and knead together until the flour is completely incorporated. (This is called a beurre manié.)

  2. 2.

    Add the remaining butter to a large sauté pan set over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the minced shallot and cook until translucent. Add the wine, 1/2 cup of water, and the thyme. Bring the liquid to a simmer, and then lay the fillets in the pan. Cover the pan, and adjust the temperature to keep liquid at a simmer. Continue to simmer until the fillets are cooked, three to four minutes. Remove the fish and set aside on a platter.

  3. 3.

    Turn the heat to high, add the flour and butter mixture, and cook until the sauce thickens. Season the sauce to taste with salt and lemon.

  4. 4.

    Transfer each fish fillet to a plate, coat with the sauce, and sprinkle with parsley.

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