Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
• ½ to 1 pound of boneless, skinless walleye fillets
• 1 pound of live mussels
• Half a medium onion
• 1 small fennel bulb, with decent fronds (leaves) intact
• 1 shallot
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil, plus extra
• 4 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
• ½ cup of Chardonnay white wine
• Dash of red pepper flakes
• 16 ounces of clam juice
• 1½ cups canned diced tomatoes, undrained
• 1 cup of water
• 1 bay leaf
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Crusty bread and butter
1. Slice off the root end of the fennel bulb and chop white and light-green parts. Reserve the fronds (green feathery, leafy parts) for later; you can discard the green stems. Chop onion and shallot.
2. Select the “sauté” setting on the Instant Pot and add oil. When heated, add chopped fennel, onion and shallot with a pinch of salt. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until onion turns translucent, stirring frequently.
3. Next, add tomato paste, minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 1 minute. Then add the white wine and scrape the bottom of the pot to release brown bits. Allow the mixture to bubble for a couple minutes.
4. Cancel the “sauté” setting. Add the canned diced tomatoes, clam juice, water and bay leaf. Follow the instructions on your Instant Pot to close the lid and prepare it for pressure cooking. Set the cook time to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, wash mussels and remove any beards. If there are any mussels that are open, set them on the counter and see if they close. If they don’t close after a few minutes, discard them as they are likely dead. If needed, remove skin and stray bones off walleye fillets.
5. Follow your machine’s instructions to depressurize the pot once cooking is completed. Carefully uncover the lid and set the machine to “sauté” to bring it to a boil. At this time, season the broth to taste with kosher salt. When the broth starts boiling, add the mussels and stir gently. Just when you see them beginning to open, gently add the walleye fillets. Ladle hot broth over the fillets to cook them.
Do not mix and stir the stew vigorously as the fish will break. As soon as all the mussels open and the fish turns opaque, turn off heat. Try not to overcook the mussels – the meat will shrink.
6. Discard bay leaf and season broth to taste again. Ladle the soup, fish and mussels into bowls. Discard any mussels that don’t open – they’re dead and will make you sick. Drizzle olive oil on top, season with freshly cracked pepper and garnish with roughly chopped fennel fronds. Serve immediately with crusty bread and butter. ■
This recipe is sponsored by Walleye Direct.