Recipe: Andrew Zimmern's Whitefish Shore Lunch

Ever heard of a "yooper"? Shorthand for those who live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the affectionate nickname for a community that holds the largest population of Finnish-Americans denotes a way of life that revolves around food, family and tradition. While immersing himself in the yooper culture, Andrew Zimmern hit the rocky waters of Lake Superior in search of whitefish, "which is king" in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. To pay homage to his catch in Michigan and the beloved tradition of the fish fry in his native Minnesota, just a stone's throw away, Chef AZ crafted this recipe for a shore lunch featuring fresh whitefish and some classic coleslaw. Watch the video and find directions for Andrew's fried whitefish shore lunch below. 

Andrew's Whitefish Shore Lunch 03:02

Andrew shares his recipe for fried Lake Superior whitefish with cole slaw.

Fried Whitefish Shore Lunch

Serves 4-6


Tartar Sauce

3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup canola oil
1 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons parsley, minced
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons capers, minced
3 tablespoons sweet pickle, minced
2 tablespoons tarragon, minced


2 pounds whitefish filets, trimmed and cut into 4 to 5 ounce filets
1 quart vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 cups Ritz crackers, pulsed in food processor to make bread crumbs


5 cups thinly shaved cabbage, tossed with 2 tablespoons salt and drained in a colander for 6 hours
3 tablespoons parsley, minced
1 shallot, minced fine
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon ground celery seed
2 carrots, julienned
2 ribs celery, sliced thin
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 mayonnaise
Sea salt and black pepper


First, make the tartar sauce. Add the yolks, mustard and vinegar to a food processor and pulse. In a thin stream, emulsify the canola oil into this mixture with the food processor running. Next, add the olive oil in a thin stream to emulsify. Place in a mixing bowl and add the lemon juice and zest, capers, sweet pickle and tarragon. Refrigerate until chilled while you finish the recipe.

Heat your oil to 365 degrees in a deep Dutch oven.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Dredge the fish in the flour mixture. Dip into the eggs and then into the Ritz cracker bread crumbs. Fry the fish pieces in batches until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. As the fish come out of the fryer, season with salt.

While the fish is frying, make the coleslaw. Gently squeeze the moisture out of the cabbage. Place in a mixing bowl and add the parsley, shallot, mustard powder, celery seed, carrots, celery, sugar and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper. 

Recipe compliments of Andrew Zimmern. Visit for more recipes like this.  

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