Slay to Gourmet: Salt-dome walleye

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Photo by Matt Lien

Salt-Dome Walleye

  • 2 medium sized walleyes
  • 6 pounds kosher salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • ½ cup of water
  • Sliced lemons and dill (optional)

The first thing that you will want to do is to get a fire going to the point where the flames have died down but the embers are still glowing.

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Photo by Matt Lien

Next, prepare the walleyes by gutting, de-finning, and scaling them. Scalers can be found at most fishmongers or can be crafted out of empty beer bottle caps in a pinch.

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Photo by Matt Lien

Season the fish by stuffing lemon slices and your preferred herbs in the cavity.

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Photo by Matt Lien

Combine the salt, egg whites, and water in a mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients by hand until you achieve a texture that is fairly sticky and can form structures on its own. On either a clay surface or a baking sheet, lay one layer of the salt mixture down.

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Photo by Matt Lien

Place your walleyes on top of the first layer and then cover them with the remaining salt mixture to form two separate domes.

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Photo by Matt Lien

Place the sheet directly on top of the embers and let the fish cook. Plan for about 25 minutes, but rather than keeping an eye on the clock, keep an eye on the color of the salt. The exterior darkening will give you an indication of the internal temperature of the salt dome, which in turn will give you a feel for how long it needs to be on the embers. When the dome turns dark brown with some black spots, the fish will most likely be cooked.

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Photo by Matt Lien

When you think the fish is done, pull the baking sheet off the embers and let it cool for a few minutes before handling. At this point, you will have noticed that the egg whites have hardened the salt mixture, enabling you to pull off large chunks of the salt. Pull off as much salt as you can, exposing the fish. Also peel off the exposed walleye skin to help remove a little of the saltiness and provide easy access to the meat.

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Photo by Matt Lien

To plate: Drizzle the fish with lemon juice and olive oil, and carefully pull the meat off the bones. With this technique, you’re going to end up with a few bones mixed in with the fish, but if you’re aware of that going into eating it shouldn’t be an issue—and, in my opinion, it’s more than worth the trade off. Enjoy!

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Photo by Matt Lien

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