Northern Wilds Magazine

Northern Pike Salad with Lemon-Chile Sesame Dressing

Most anglers know full well the thrill of hooking into a northern pike. Northern pike bite throughout the day, even during the sunny doldrums of the afternoon when most other fish have retired until dusk.

Like most fish and other seafood, the colder the water, the better your catch will taste. This means the farther north you travel, the more delicious your pike will be. However, because pike have a line of y-bones in each fillet (uncommon in most fresh water fish), some fishermen don’t keep them to eat. They are missing out on a tasty treat.

Whether freshly caught or purchased from the grocery store, pike offer many nutrients and are high in protein. Not only are pike a joy to catch, they are a very healthy addition to your table, if you are willing to put in the extra effort for this great-tasting, fish.

Makes two servings.

  • Scaled and filleted pike, enough to yield 10 ounces
  • Light dusting of paprika, salt and pepper
  • (Spray can of cooking oil also recommended)

Salad mix:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Swiss chard
  • Baby mizuna
  • Baby red leaf
  • Baby argula
  • Baby spinach
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Half red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 on-the-vine tomato, finely diced


  • Juice and zest from 2 lemons
  • 1 ounce ginger, grated
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Scale and fillet pike. Completely remove y-bones if desired, or make a shallow incision along white protruding dots where y-bones are located. Pre-heat grill to 400 degrees. Make sure coals are gray and hot (if using charcoal) and grate is also hot and very clean (otherwise fish will stick to grate). Lightly dust flesh of pike with paprika, salt and pepper. Spray both sides with cooking oil. Place flesh-side down for 1 minute on grill, for a quick sear, then carefully flip so skin-side is down. Cover grill. If you made an incision along y-bones, the bones will start to curl from flesh due to heat. You can hand-pick ones at this time.

Once flesh is flaky and fish fully cooked, remove pike from grill and hand-pick flesh from skin, careful to remove any excess y-bones. Set flesh aside in refrigerator to cool. Mix salad. In a large mixing bowl, zest and juice 2 lemons, grate 1 ounce of ginger. Add olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Stir thoroughly. Mince a clove of fresh garlic, enough to yield 1 teaspoon. Add garlic to bowl, along with sesame seeds, chili flakes, kosher salt and sesame oil. Thoroughly mix and add to dressing bottle.

You may choose to toss salad with dressing ahead of time before dividing into two bowls, or add dressing afterward. Make certain to thoroughly shake dressing bottle before pouring over-top salad. Top each bowl with 5 ounces of hand-picked pike. Serve and enjoy!—Jack Hennessy

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