Walleye Fishing photo

Fried fish, sweet corn, and cold beer: This meal is pure summer

Two midwestern staples—walleye and pretzels—come -together here in a fast dish that’s perfectly tailored for a lazy summer evening. Mustard keeps the crushed pretzels on the fish, ensuring a crispy crust. I like the brash, downhome simplicity of yellow mustard, but Dijon will add a bit of -sophistication, and horseradish mustard a bit of heat.

-4 walleye fillets, about 6 oz. each
-1 stick butter
-Zest of 1⁄2 lemon
-1⁄2 tsp. lemon juice
-Scant tsp. sugar
-About 2 cups broken pretzels
-1⁄2 cup yellow mustard
-1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
-4 ears sweet corn
-Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


1. Make the lemonade butter: Let the butter sit at room temperature until it’s soft. Transfer to a small bowl and add the lemon zest, juice, and sugar, as well as salt and pepper. Stir with a fork until combined. Transfer the butter to a length of plastic wrap and form it into a cylinder, twisting the ends of the plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Pulse the pretzels in a food processor until they’re the consistency of breadcrumbs. They might be uneven, but that’s O.K.; bigger shards will add crunch. Transfer the pretzels to a plate and salt and pepper generously, stirring with a fork.

3. Set the fillets on another plate and brush both sides of the fish with the mustard. (You can also use a spoon, or your well-washed hands.) Place the fillets, one at a time, in the pretzel crumbs, pressing down lightly to help the crumbs adhere. Flip to coat the other side, then transfer to a sheet of parchment or wax paper.

4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. In the meantime, place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, use a spatula to carefully transfer the walleye fillets to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom, then flip and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until done.

5. While the fish is cooking, add the corn to the boiling water. Boil for about 4 minutes, or slightly longer if the corn is less than perfectly fresh.

6. To serve, place the fish beside the hot corn on a plate. Top each ear of corn with a chunk of the lemonade butter and serve immediately. Serves 4