This summer appetizer is a Great Lakes tradition.

Hankering for some whitefish dip made with fresh-caught fish? Go no farther than the Alcona Brew Haus in northeast Michigan’s Harrisville. Located right on North U.S. 23 between Greenbush and Black River, the allergy- and vegan-friendly brewery serves up everything from smoked foods and pizzas to burgers made from fresh-ground beef and more.

Sandy Arens opened the brewery and restaurant a few years ago “to be a draw for the community and put Harrisville on the map,” she says. The chef and restaurateur, who holds an associate degree in culinary arts from Schoolcraft College in Livonia, says the secret to creating this great dip is using wild-caught Great Lakes whitefish filets. She estimates that approximately 25 percent of her guests order the dip come summer — the only time it’s available.

Arens says she worked in conjunction with her “amazing kitchen team” to develop the recipe, which starts with “good-quality whitefish and cream cheese.” Those are the only hints you’ll get from Chef Arens, except that to mince the fish for a dip, it must be done with “loving care, as it’s delicate,” she shares, “and it has a shelf life of about five days.”

The dip is delicious with almost anything, adds Arens, who serves it with two types of crackers (gluten-free crackers are available, too).

More information: The restaurant is at 676 N. U.S. 23 in Harrisville, and is open Wednesday through Sunday (closed Monday and Tuesday) during the summer. Guests can call ahead (989-724-6338) one hour before arriving, and Arens says the team will start working to prepare a table for them. alconabrew.com


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