Todd Zawistowski- Traverse Magazine 2010

Spring Harvest: Panfish, Asparagus and Morel

The sublime flavors of Northern Michigan Spring for 6.


  • 2–3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 5 wild leeks root bulbs (corms), coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound morels (soaked and halved)
  • 2 pounds asparagus
  • 12 panfish (perch or bluegills)
  • olive oil
  • flour to dust mushrooms
  • salt
  • pepper


Get a sauté pan going on gentle heat with a tablespoon of butter melting. Add coarsely sliced leeks to flavor the butter. While this is sweating down, dust your soaked and halved mushrooms in a simple flour, salt and pepper blend. Turn up the heat a little, remove chopped leeks and lay your morels in a single layer in the flavored butter to brown. Turn mushrooms once until nicely browned and slightly crisp on both sides ... drain on a covered paper towel. If you can multi-task, now is the time to put on another sauté pan on med-high to toast the asparagus spears in a little olive oil (season with pepper and sea salt). While that is going on, add just a bit more butter and a little olive oil to your mushroom pan and gently brown your fish filets on each side (dredged in the same flour mixture as the mushrooms). Serve the filets next to the sautéed spears topped with a stack of crisp mushrooms ... a spiritual experience.  

Photo(s) by Todd Zawistowski