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Nov 9, 2012 11:39 PM

Whitefish livers and other rare and delicious Great Lakes treats

Whitefish livers! A new favorite. A few years ago, I was in Munising Michigan and stopped at a little fresh fish shack. In the case on ice were a few bags of plump pink fish organs that I learned were whitefish livers. They reminded me a bit of sweetbreads or pale pink chicken livers. I bought a bag. Had to. Dusted them with cornmeal and flour, sauteed in butter, lemon, salt, pepper, ate them medium rare like chicken livers. So delicious. I have looked for them everywhere but really can only find them in Michigan or Wisconsin (I know they can be found in Minnesota but haven't been there). I live in Chicago. Went into Dirk's Fish on Clybourn one day and asked Dirk if he could get the whitefish livers for me. He looked confused. I was shocked. He was unfamiliar with whitefish livers. Said he would try to get them. When I called back to ask, he said it was a local thing and impossible to order them for retail sale.

Who loves whitefish livers? And what else am I missing? Special roe? Other livers?


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  1. Willa, you've probably also had Whitefish Pate...

    Many places in northern lower MI and the UP have their own take on this "dip" and all we've sampled are terrific.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RedTop

      Yep, I've had them in the pâté form ... very tasty. The monkfish livers at the more authentic type of sushi bar are also worth trying. They do have the characteristic liver flavor, so if you're grossed out by chicken livers you're probably not going to like those either.