Seared Walleye (pickerel) Fillet with Brown Butter Caper Sauce and Spätzle


This recipe for seared walleye (pickerel) fillet with brown butter caper sauce and spätzle is from episode 13 of Fish the Dish starring Spencer Watts.

Serves: 4



  • 1 cup (240 ml) all-purpose flour, plus more to dust fish
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon (30 ml) butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) chopped parsley

Pan-Fried Walleye (pickerel)

  • 4 6-ounce (170 g) walleye (pickerel) fillets
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) finely-chopped parsley
  • Olive oil, for finishing dish

Caper Butter Sauce

  • ½ cup (120 ml) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Mix flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, white pepper, and parsley in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk eggs and milk in a separate bowl.
  3. Gradually pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients bowl, while whisking continually, until it forms a soft batter.
  4. Pour batter into a plastic bag, seal it, and snip a hole in the corner to use for piping.
  5. Pipe batter into a pot of boiling, salted water, using a small knife to cut batter into small dumplings as you pipe. When späetzle is cooked, it will float to the top, about 1 minute. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon to an oiled tray.
  6. Allow dumplings to cool before frying.
  7. Add canola oil to a small heated pan. Add the späetzle. Keep moving the pan so the späetzle doesn’t stick. After about 1 minute or when späetzle is golden brown, flip in the pan. Once crust has formed, add butter, salt, and pepper to the pan. Aside and keep warm until ready to serve.
  8. Rinse the fish fillets in cold water, drain briefly, and pat dry with paper towel.
  9. Place flour on a plate.  Dust the fish in flour and place in a hot skillet with melted butter.  Shake the pan as you cook the fish to help it not stick.  Cook until golden brown, 2 minutes. Carefully turn the fillets over and cook for another 60 seconds until the fish flakes easily when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Move off heat and let the fish finish cooking in the butter bath.
  10. Place a saucepan on medium heat. Add cold butter. Heat until it begins to foam. Do not stir. The butter will turn a rich, golden brown and give off a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. Add shallots, capers, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and move off heat.
  11. Finish the butter sauce with some fresh parsley.
  12. Plate the fish on bed of späetzle. Spoon the butter caper sauce over top, and drizzle on a little olive oil.