Wild Pickerel with Essence of Basil and Balsamic

[migration] empty title 212 Author: Canadian Living Credits: [migration] empty title 212

  • Portion size 4 servings


  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 4 175 g pickerel fillets about 6 oz (175 g) each
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


In small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar and sugar to boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer until syrupy, about 10 minutes. Scrape into small bowl and set aside to let cool. (Make-ahead: Cover and store in cool place for up to 2 weeks.)

Meanwhile, heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat to 375°F (190°C). Set aside half of the basil leaves; cook remaining basil in 2 batches until crisp, 5 to 6 seconds. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Let oil cool.

Strain oil, reserving 2 tbsp (25 mL) to cook pickerel. Pour remaining oil into food processor; add remaining basil and pulse until finely chopped. Strain oil through fine sieve; pour into small plastic squeeze bottle. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 1 week.)

In pie plate, whisk together flour, lemon rind, salt and pepper. With paper towel, pat fillets dry; dredge in flour mixture to coat well on both sides, shaking off excess. Set aside in single layer on waxed paper-lined baking sheet.

Place nonstick skillet over medium heat; brush with reserved basil oil. Cook pickerel, in batches and brushing with more oil as necessary, until golden and flakes easily when tested with fork, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Divide fish among 4 warmed plates; top each with pile of fried basil leaves. Drizzle basil oil around fillet. Using fork, dot oil with balsamic syrup.

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Wild Pickerel with Essence of Basil and Balsamic