Friday, August 29, 2008

Zander Pike?

On a whim, Marge and I ventured to Niles yesterday for an early-evening dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, the Riverfront Cafe.

One of the nightly specials was billed as “zander pike.” Bemused at the strange name, and curious about the true identity of this new menu item, I queried the waiter, “What kind of fish is zander pike, exactly?” The stammered reply was, “Um, it’s sort of like walleye, prepared with a special cream sauce.” Being suckers for any kind of well-prepared, fresh fish, we both ordered it.

Well, it was delicious! I initially presumed that zander was a misspelling and mispronunciation of Sander, the genus name for walleye (Sander vitreus), a popular food-fish native to the Great Lakes. In fact, I ate the fish think that it WAS walleye, which it certainly resembled in flesh and taste. Only when I returned home and did a Google search did I realize that zander is actually the common name for Sander lucioperca, a closely-related fish native to Europe that is sometimes called pike-perch.

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