Ted brought back a steelhead trout the last time he was out fishing for walleye on Lake Erie, even though he wants no part of eating salmon or their cousins—he says they’re fishy, but I think he probably just had a bad experience. So, I’m having the steelhead and taking out a small walleye for him—mine on the grill; his baked in the oven.
He skinned the steelhead, so I can’t rely on skin acting as a barrier to sticking on the grill. I’ll have to be careful, making sure the grill is hot and well-oiled, and then watch for that perfect moment to flip. I’m going to use a marinade with soy and brown sugar, so that may add a little layer of protection or it may act like glue—who knows?
But let’s start with the walleye. I’m using a mayonnaise base in which to briefly marinate the fish; then it gets coated with panko bread crumbs. It creates a light crispy coating with a delicate, moist fish inside. The easiest part is that you just bake it, so there’s no messy, splattering oils to clean up afterward.
Here are the two fish after marinating for an hour in the fridge and the walleye with the panko crumbs waiting to go into the oven. You can see how neat the walleye look with the panko pressed in all around; there’s no mayo leaking out:
The walleye only need to bake for about 10-15 minutes in a hot oven or until they start to brown. The steelhead fillets, which are much thinner than a salmon steak, grill up in about 5 minutes and didn’t stick at all today—just don’t try to flip them more than once.
Yes, he likes to eat off those cheap Corelle® plates and I prefer the heavier Fiesta® ones, but I have my eye on new dinnerware that we could both like.
Baked Walleye with Panko
For two fillets:
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
*I don’t like to over season the fish, but you can certainly add your favorite seasonings to the mayo mixture.
- In a glass dish that will hold your fillets without overlapping, spread the mayo mixture over each fillet. Turn and cover the other side.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Panko Crust and Baking
- Preheat oven to 425°; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place about 2 cups unseasoned panko crumbs on a paper towel or in a shallow dish. You could use seasoned crumbs or add seasoning, but I find it unnecessary.
- Carefully place fillets in crumbs, pressing crumbs into the mayo all around. You can’t avoid breading your fingers, but it all works out.
- Place each fillet on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 425° for about 10-15 minutes or until crumbs are browning.
Grilled Steelhead with Honey-Soy Marinade
In the summer, I usually throw together marinades on the run with what’s available, often with orange juice and ginger and soy, but today I borrowed a good recipe from Betty Crocker that is usually made with salmon: “Grilled Salmon with Honey-Soy Marinade.” I changed the preparation a little.
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced or garlic paste
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Place in microwave to melt butter—my microwave button for that runs for 25 seconds.
- Whisk the warmed ingredients to dissolve the brown sugar, then set aside to cool. Do not put a warm marinade on the fish.*
- Pour the room temperature marinade over the fish in a shallow glass dish. Turn to coat.
- Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
- Bring to room temperature before grilling.
- Set up grill for medium-high heat, about 400°; clean grill grate when hot.
- Mop grate generously with olive or vegetable oil just before grilling the fish.
- Place the fillets on the grill; turn after 2-3 minutes with a large, fine-edged turner. Grill for another 2 minutes.
*Leave a small amount of marinade in a separate bowl for basting, if you like.