Walleye Basil Stir Fry
Photos and recipe by Keane Amdahl
Reprinted with permission from Lake Fish: Modern Cooking with Freshwater Fish by Keane Amdahl, published by Minnesota Historical Society Press. mnhspress.org
This dish has a lot of flexibility: follow my suggestions of broccoli, carrots, pea pods and some thinly sliced red onion, or feel free to experiment with whatever veggies you’re into. When it all comes together with the basil, ginger, garlic, and stir-fry sauce, you’re going to have yourself a winning dish. Note that the flaky nature of the walleye means the fish will break into smaller pieces during the cooking process.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups mixed stir-fry vegetables (broccoli florets, snow pea pods, carrots, onions) cut or sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 (4 to 6-ounce) skinless walleye fillets, cut into one-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 Fresno chile, finely minced
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin or oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup basil leaves (preferably Thai basil)
Rice – prepared according to package instructions
Place a large skillet or wok over high heat and add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Heat oil to smoking, then toss in vegetable mix and cook, stirring, until softened and caramelized, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the fish, garlic, ginger, and chili and continue to cook, stirring, until the fish is just cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the mirin, soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, and basil, and cook until the sauce starts to reduce and become sticky. Serve immediately with a side of hot rice.
A Note from the Kitchen
Yes, there is a difference when it comes to the type of basil you select. It may surprise you to learn that there are actually a number of varieties of basil to choose from, ranging from the traditional sweet basil that is the cornerstone of many tomato-based dishes, to the clove-tasting purple leaf basil that you’ll often see at farmers markets. Thai basil, the preferred choice for this recipe, has an anise-like flavor profile that marries with the other ingredients beautifully, as well as standing up to the higher heat this quick recipe calls for.