Walleye Benedict With Cured Goose Yolks
To some folks the idea of eating fish for breakfast isn’t very appealing. I get it. I grew up only eating fish for lunch or dinner. It would be dredged in cracker crumbs, fried and then served with Hellman’s tartar sauce and a side of potato salad. For the last 10 years I’ve been trying to get past that notion and sample our local Minnesota fish in as many ways as possible. One of my favorites trials is a Walleye Benedict.
A few years ago I was given a copy of a book by Keane Amdahl called Lake Fish1. In it, there are dozens of recipes for preparing local fish in modern and interesting ways. Last month I got a copy of John Wipfli’s new book, Fish1, another magnificent book showing new and beautiful ways to use our local catch. (Listen to a podcast with author Jon Wipfli)
Wipfli’s new book also has me inspired to get out and catch a few Northerns so I can try his cured pike recipe. If I am lucky enough to catch a Muskie some day soon there are recipes for that other giant fish that lurks in northern waters.
There is so much inspiration in these two books that I am going to devote the rest of my summer to catching and preparing our local fish in as many ways as possible.
Swapping Catfish For Walleye
In Amdahl’s book there is a recipe for catfish benedict. I love eggs benedict and I love catfish, so the combination seemed right up my ally. It was a delicious twist on a classic recipe. In that sprit I figured I would give the classic eggs benedict a try with a couple of my own twists.
Since I didn’t have any catfish in the freezer I had to make do with what I did have and went with some nice walleye fillets. I thought about grilling or pan searing the walleye but decided to stick with the classic shore lunch method and fry the walleye pieces.
A Twist On Hollandaise
Hollandaise is one of my favorite sauces and is a must for eggs benedict. A couple of years ago I found out about curing egg yolks. In basic terms you pack egg yolks in a salt and sugar cure and let them age. After a week you remove the yolks, rinse them, and then wrap them in cheesecloth and hang them to dry for a week (or so). Once they are finished drying they are like hard little discs that can be grated like parmesan cheese. The first time I tried this I couldn’t believe how much it tasted like hollandaise sauce.
I have been using the dry-cured egg yolks in place of hollandaise lately in quite a few recipes. The yolks are also packable so when I go out on a backcountry trip I can bring them along and have a hollandaise substitute in the backcountry. A buddy of mine raises geese so I’ve been getting goose eggs from him and curing those yolks as they are twice the size of a regular chicken egg yolk.
Either way, if you want to make the cured yolks or stick with the traditional hollandaise you should give this walleye benedict a try. It just may change the way you think about fish for breakfast!
Recipe: Walleye Benedict With Cured Goose Yolks
For the Egg Yolks
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup maple sugar (if you don’t have maple sugar brown sugar will work)
4 fresh yolks, separated from the whites. (I use goose eggs but I have done this with duck and chicken eggs)
Combine the sugar and salt and stir together. Pour half the salt mixture into a plastic container and place the yolks on top of the salt mixture. Pour the remaining salt mixture over the top of the yolks. Make sure the yolks are completely encased in salt and sugar.
Place in the fridge for one week. After a week remove the yolks from the cure mixture and rinse under cold water. Set them out on wax paper and allow to dry for 20-30 minutes. Then wrap the yolks in cheesecloth and hang in your fridge for a week. If you use goose eggs you will hang them for two weeks.
When they are done hanging you can grate them like parmesan. The grated yolks go great on fish and grilled vegetables.
To Assemble the Walleye Benedict
2 English muffins, toasted
4 eggs, poached or over easy
4 pieces of fried walleye or any other fish
Dry-cured egg yolks
Butter the English muffins and then place your fried egg on top, then a couple of pieces of fried walleye. Grate the egg yolks over the top and garnish with chopped chives.
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