When you are lucky enough to have someone drop off a bag of fresh perch on your galley counter, like I did today, count yourself a very fortunate person. Fresh perch pan-fried in a light egg and panko crust is one of life’s greatest meals. A simple squeeze of lemon on top and you have a meal that would please even the pickiest of fish eaters and bring joy to the hearts of those that can appreciate the tender taste of these lovely fish.
Lake Erie Perch is very famous in Ontario and New York and loved dearly by many who can get it fesh near the shores of Lake Ontario. This is what I am using here, freshly caught by my son. Any perch can be used, of course, but if you can find a fisherman that is good enough to bring you some of his day’s catch, you won’t be disappointed.
I like to pan-fry perch very simply after it has been coated in seasoned flour, egg, and panko bread crumbs. To do this, set yourself up a workspace where you can fit 3 bowls, big enough to dip the fish into. Fill the first with flour seasoned with salt and pepper, fill the second with eggs that have been beaten, and the third with Panko bread crumbs. Place a plate nearby to place your coated fish before frying.
Using one hand only so that you can keep the other one clean, dip your perch first into the flour, ensuring that the fish is fully coated, then into the egg and lastly, into the panko crumbs. Pat down the crumbs if necessary to make sure they are clinging to the entire fish.
Crispy Perch should be served with something that won’t ovepower the tender fish. Coleslaw or a light Arugula Lemon Salad both work very well. A wedge of lemon on the side is all the topping the fish need.
Crispy PerchCourse: MainDifficulty: Easy
1/2 lb. fresh yellow perch fillets
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup butter
1 lemon for serving
- Find a good workspace and set up 3 shallow bowls, large enough to fit fish fillets. The first bowl contains the flour, salt and black pepper. The second bowl contains the eggs. The third bowl contains the Panko bread crumbs. You may substitute with crushed soda cracker crumbs or cornmeal.
- Dip each fillet into the flour mixture, then the egg mixture and then the crumbs, coating each side of the fillet completely during each of these steps.
- Heat a fry pan to medium high. Melt the 1/2 cup butter.
- Place a coated fillet in the hot pan and cook until golden brown (approx. 3 minutes per side). Remove and drain on a paper towel before serving. Fry remaining fillets, adding butter to the pan between fillets if necessary. (You may need more than the 1/2 cup butter mentioned)
- Plate the Crispy Perch fillets and serve with lemon wedges.