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.

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

About This Recipe

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


  • 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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