A delicious perch-ase!

Photo: Todd Marsee
By Todd Marsee
What happens when you go to the store to buy yellow perch for a fish fry?
…It becomes an expensive “perch-ase!”
(Many thanks to my son, our 11-year-old resident etymologist, for this knee-slapper!)

I love yellow perch, but it can be expensive. It was just a “scale” under $18 per pound at our local grocery store. That said, it’s been a long time since I’ve fried up perch. Frying food (in my opinion) is messy and there is a lot of oil waste, so I don’t do it very often.

When I do fry, I go easy on the oil, so there is no submersion and less oil waste.
Knowing that my kids don’t like fish bones or skin, I bought a small batch of perch for my wife and me, and I made the kiddos their favorite: grilled salmon. I’m not sure grilling and frying at the same time was a great decision — it certainly tested my multi-tasking skills. But in the end (spoiler alert!), it worked out just fine and there were smiles all around the table.
Since perch bones are very fine and often not detectable, I decided to give the kids each a fillet. Oh, and I didn’t tell them about the skin. They must not have noticed, as there was not one single complaint. What a tricky dad 😉

Fried perch

Serves: 2 (but we split one of the butterfly fillets and gave half to each of the kids)
Olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Powered garlic, to taste
Oregano, to taste
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3 fresh lake perch fillets (butterfly cut); these were on the small side
  1. Fill the frying pan with about 1/8″-1/4″ of olive oil and heat the pan. The olive oil will give the fillets a more buttery taste than other oils like canola or grapeseed.
  2. Mix flour, smoked paprika, oregano, garlic, and salt together; set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, blend the egg and milk.
  4. Combine the milk/egg mixture with the flour mixture and stir to form a batter.
  5. Dip perch fillets in batter, coating both sides.
  6. Carefully place fillets into the hot olive oil in the frying pan and brown on both sides. If the batter is thin on the fillet, spoon on some extra.
  7. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.


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