Thanks to one of the most hateful winters in history—which caused a freeze-over of so many Midwest rivers and lakes—the walleye will be nice and fat this summer.

The water temperature has to rise to 40 degrees before the fish can spawn, and they will plump out beautifully while waiting for the thaw, says Dirk Fucik (Dirk’s Fish & Gourmet Shop, 2070 N. Clybourn Ave., 773-404-3475).

Michael Kornick sources from Fortune Fish & Gourmet in Bensenville for his Fish Bar, but he heartily recommends Dirk’s for home cooks.

Michael Kornick’s Pan-Roasted Walleye

Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 6 to 8 minutes

10 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. Lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Capers, chopped
2 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
4 Walleye fillets (6 oz. each), skin on or off
  Salt and pepper to taste
12 Jumbo asparagus spears

1. Combine 6 Tbsp. of the olive oil with the lemon juice, capers, and parsley. Set the dressing aside.

2. Season the walleye with salt and pepper.

3. Ready a pot of boiling salted water for the asparagus.

4. Sauté the walleye in the remaining olive oil over medium heat, 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

5. As soon as you flip the walleye, boil the asparagus for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and equally divide the spears onto 4 plates.

6. Place a walleye fillet on top.

7. Spoon the dressing over the walleye.

TIP: Don’t be skeezed out by fish skin. It helps keep the delicate flesh moist, and it’s crispy, tasty, and perfectly safe to eat.