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Award-Winning Recipes Showcase Lake Superior Fish

Taste the lake! Minnesota Sea Grant is pleased to offer the winning recipes from two competitions: A Salute to Lake Superior's Sustainable Fisheries and Spilly's Lake Superior Recipe Contest. The recipes feature commercially caught fish from Lake Superior and were gathered as a tribute to Minnesota's commercial fishermen, resource managers, and Sea Grant founder Athelstan Spilhaus. Additional competition recipes are available through the Minnesota Sea Grant website (www.seagrant.umn.edu/fisheries/fishrecipes).


A Salute to Lake Superior's Sustainable Fisheries involved a professional culinary competition on November 1st in Minneapolis. During the day, nine Minnesota chefs created and plated lake herring entrées in a fierce bid for $1,000 and professional accolades. American Culinary Federation judges named Chef Ron Bohnert of Danny's Bar and Grill the champion for impressing them with "Lake Superior Bluefin Herring." The recipe is a black pepper potato encrusted entrée dressed with caviar crème fraiche.

Salute winner:
Lake Superior Bluefin Herring

  • Ron Bohnert, executive chef,
    Danny's Bar and Grill
  • Stoneridge Golf Club, Stillwater, Minnesota

Part 1: Potato Crusted Herring

Yield/Servings: Serves 4


  • 4 lake herring fillets, skinned and boned
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups potato flakes
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, restaurant grind
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, olive oil blend
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh butter
  • Dill, micro parsley, as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice


  • Cut fillets on bias into two pieces.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Dip in beaten eggs then in potato flakes mixed with black pepper.
  • In heavy bottomed hot pan add oil blend and butter.
  • Place fish flesh side down and lightly brown; turn and finish cooking.
  • Remove from pan and place on paper towels.
  • Wipe out pan and add fresh butter, lemon and dill herb; melted butter mix should be spooned over fish at service.

Part 2: Caviar Cream Fraiche


  • 1 cup Vermont crème fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons lake herring roe
  • 2 tablespoons salmon roe
  • 1 tablespoon shallot minced
  • 2 tablespoons chardonnay
  • 2 tablespoons vodka
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dill, chives


  • Sweat minced shallot in wine reducing wine by half.
  • Add vodka and burn off.
  • Add cream fraiche, stir and remove from heat.
  • Add both roe and season with lemon salt and pepper.
  • Add herbs reserve for plating.

Out of the hors d'oeuvre recipes submitted by the public to the Spilly's Lake Superior Recipe Contest, Hannah Wolters of Culleoka, Tennessee, won with "Baked Lake Superior Whitefish Toast Points," a delicate combination of whitefish, cream cheese, avocado, and other complementary ingredients.

Recipe Contest winner:
Baked Lake Superior Whitefish
Toast Points

  • Hannah Wolters
  • Duluth, Minnesota

Baked Lake Superior Whitefish

Yield/Servings: Serves 16


  • Whole Wheat Baguette
  • 5 Fresh Lake Superior Whitefish Fillets
  • 1/3 cup Butter, Melted
  • 1/3 cup Lemon Juice, Divided
  • Salt and Pepper for Sprinkling
  • 1 Red Slicing Tomato
  • 2 Avocados
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 3 tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, Diced Finely (Additional for Garnish)
  • 2/3 cup Black Olives, Sliced


  1. Slice the baguette into 1/4-inch slices. You need about 16-20 pieces, so save the rest for something different.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 400°F, spray a medium casserole dish with non-stick spray.
  3. In a bowl, stir together the butter and 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice. Place the fillets in the dish and pour the sauce on top. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Cover and bake for 10-15 minutes until fish fillets are cooked through.
  4. Remove from pan and discard the liquid.
  5. Using a fork, break the fillets up in a bowl. Don't pulverize them; you want chunks, not spread.
  6. Dice the tomato and add to the fish. Peel, core and dice the avocado, and add to the fish along with the olives.
  7. Microwave the cream cheese to soften it. Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice, onion powder, and cilantro.
  8. Spread the cream cheese mixture on to the toasted baguette slices, dividing it evenly among all pieces.
  9. Top with a spoonful of the fish-tomato mixture onto the toast. The amount will depend on the size of your tomato, avocado and fillets, but try to get an equal amount on each one.
  10. If desired, garnish each with a small sprig of cilantro.
  11. Serve chilled along with your choice of other delightful finger foods.

Posted on November 22, 2011

This page last modified on May 23, 2012     © 1996 – 2020 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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