Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Walleye with Spring Flavors

So, I've been following this blog for a while:  Forager|Chef.  He's got a nice combination of really beautiful photos, tasty recipes, and foraging tips and I enjoy reading his posts.  Many of the recipes inspire me.  A while back he posted about spruce tips - both as an ingredient in savory dishes and as an ice cream.  The blue spruce in front of my house is covered with new growth so I harvested about a cup of the tips and used half to make a spruce tip puree.  I cut the recipe in half and, even with that, I froze half of the puree since I knew I wouldn't use it up all that quickly.  He said in his blog that spruce goes particularly well with spring flavors.  I came up with a combination that worked very, very well.

We still have several packages of that walleye we caught last summer on Lake Erie, so I thawed one of those.  I also had a bunch of fiddleheads, courtesy of Whole Foods, and some farro.  I went out into the yard and pulled up some field garlic.  Then I set to work:

The fish was baked with just some pepper and an herb mix, 15 minutes at 425 degrees.  While that was cooking, I was simmering the farro with chicken stock.  And warming up a cup of heavy cream with 3 T. spruce puree.  And sautéing field garlic bulbs in butter with the fiddleheads, which had been blanched first.  I also reserved the green parts of the field garlic for a garnish, whole and chopped.

What I discovered is that the fiddleheads were cooked so amazingly well, and they were the anchor of the dish - they held onto the spruce-cream sauce and tied the whole combination of tastes together.  The farro, which I hadn't really intended to mix with the sauce, was nothing without the sauce.  The spruce flavor was subtle but lovely.  I would consider thinly slicing the field garlic bulbs as they were a little bitter when left whole.

Next up, I plan to make that ice cream!

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