I first tried Whitefish in Dill Sauce at the Clearing in Ellison Bay, WI while attending a week long Photoshop Class that included a delicious daily lunch. This meal stood out, so when a local market had a sale on Lake Superior Whitefish, it was time to create my own version from the fading memory.
You see, I had hesitated in trying this for over a year. I was afraid to grow attached because, despite the health value of fish, environmental contamination has made consumption a challenge. And our local whitefish from the beautiful Great Lakes are on the watch list for health concerns.
I am old enough to remember the days when the death of Lake Erie was imminent. A few years ago, on a vacation trip that included a quest to swim in all the Great Lakes, we phoned my mother and mentioned that we were hitting a Lake Erie beach that day. I still remember the horrified plea, “Noooooo…., don’t swim in Lake Erie.”
“Don’t worry,” I was able to tell her. Lake Erie has come back, at least for swimming (though always check for local problems on any beach). But residues in our fish resources are still of concern and the Wisconsin DNR recommend limiting Lake Michigan Whitefish consumption to once a month.
And if contamination isn’t enough to worry about, there are issues surrounding overfishing and knowing when to eat wild versus farmed varieties. For more information on local fish advisories, see the WI DNR or for broader advice, check out the EDF.
Although this dish was originally prepared with local whitefish, haddock (with a better safety profile) also works beautifully and I’m sure other varieties would as well. Here’s to a wonderful food, with a note of sadness for a resource we could have stewarded better.
Whitefish in Dill Sauce
- 4 pieces of white fish such as whitefish or haddock approx 5 oz each
- 1/4 c flour
- Pinch salt
- Pinch pepper
- 1/4 t onion powder
- 1-2 T olive oil
- Lemon (optional)
- Dill sauce (see recipe below)
Dill Sauce (Makes a lot, but we liked it so much we dunked our potatoes in it too)
- 1/2 c sour cream (or reduced fat sour cream)
- 1/4 lite mayo
- 1 T dill
- 2 t lemon juice
- 2 T chopped onion
- 1/4 t salt
1. Prepare dill sauce by combing sauce ingredients. Set aside and begin fish.
2. Mix flour, salt, pepper & onion powder.
3. Pat fish dry, then dredge in flour mixture.
4. Sauté in olive oil for a few minutes, then turn over and continue cooking until cooked through (I used an instant read thermometer to test). Optional: After flipping, place a slice of lemon on top of each piece of fish.
5. Serve with Dill Sauce