Crisp Walleye with Lemon and Chickpeas

Crisp Walleye with Lemon and Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 4 skin-on striped walleye fillets (5 oz. each), scaled
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour (GF use Domata All Purpose Flour)
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 cups seeded, diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 19-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • Chile sauce to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 200°F. Pat the fish fillets dry and season all over with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Put the flour in wide, shallow dish and lightly dredge the fish in the flour, shaking off any excess.
  2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Arrange the fish skin side down in the pan so the fillets fit without touching. Cook undisturbed for 4 minutes. With a spatula, peek under a fillet to see if the skin is golden-brown and crisp. If not, cook 1 minute more. Flip the fillets and cook until lightly golden-brown and just cooked through, an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the cumin seeds to the skillet, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 3 Tbs. water and cook until they become saucy, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add the preserved lemon (or lemon zest) and chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the fish on the plate skin side up. Spoon on the chickpea mixture and garnish with the chile sauce and a scattering of cilantro leaves. If desired, drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the fish at the table. May be served over cous cous or rice.