For many Canadians, Christmas Eve is a special celebration where family, friends and loved ones come together for a shared meal before the gift giving and hooplah of Christmas Day. It’s a day of reflection and sharing at the table — and for some, it also means foregoing meat. In Eastern Europe, for instance, they celebrate with 12 fish dishes (one for each apostle, naturally). We can’t think of a better time to celebrate the humble Walleye!
Walleye, or Pickerel, is one of Ontario’s favorite fish. In Lakes Erie, Huron and Ontario it’s caught by bottom gillnet and trap net making it Ocean Wise Certified. What does that mean? Well, it means that a third party — in this case Ocean Wise has made sure this species is abundant and resilient to fishing pressures in the area, the population is well managed, it’s harvested in a method that ensures limited by-catch and in ways that limit damage to marine habitats in it’s region. There are currently seven Ocean Wise Certified species in our Great Lakes!
- 2lb Ontario pickerel fillets, skinned
- 1/4 cup Pristine Gourmet Sunflower Oil
- 1 cup panko crumbs
- 3/4 cup Ontario flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Ontario shallots, finely chopped
- 1/4 capers, drained and finely chopped
- 1 small Ontario garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon Ontario mustard -- we like Mrs. McGarrigle's for this one!
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- For salsa verde, mis parsley, shallots, capers, garlic, mustard and vinegar together in small bowl. Add olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir and set aside.
- Mix panko crumbs and generous amount of salt & pepper together on deep plate. Working one at a time, dredge fillets through mixture and place of dry board or platter.
- Meanwhile, heat sunflower oil over medium high heat in cast iron skillet.
- Cook fillets in hot oil. Do not over crowd, one or two at a time, turning once, for about 5 minutes per side until filet is opaque. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel. Skim excess panko from hot oil between frying.
- To serve, pool salsa on plate and place breaded fillet on top.
- Serve alongside your favorite rice pilaf and roasted vegetables. Makes for a great Christmas Eve dish!