Few experiences are better than catching perch and eating a delicious meal made from your fresh catch. The best perch recipes are those that do not mask but enhance the natural flavor of this delicate white meat fish. Perch is the perfect fish to use for a good old fashioned fish fry or a delicious perch sandwich with seasonal side dishes.
These delicious perch recipe ideas include traditional breading, homemade herb butter for a healthy baking option and fruit salsa have a few simple ingredients and make for the best ways to enjoy your catch of the day.
Breading for Fried Perch
One of the best perch recipes and most popular perch dishes is a traditional fried perch than can be used for a fish fry or for a perfect perch sandwich. It starts with the breading because you want a good balance of that delicious fried crunch but a light enough coating to taste the true flavor of the white flaky perch.
Traditional Breadcrumb Recipe
• Corn meal
• Cayenne pepper (a pinch)
• 1 egg
• Peanut oil (or cooking oil of your choice)
Combine equal parts flour and corn meal in a shallow bowl. Add in salt, pepper, thyme, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. This is a light option that showcases the fish while adding a bit of crunch with the frying.
Put the breading mix into a food processor and give it a few quick pulses. This will make the breading even finer and lighter.
Make the egg wash in a separate bowl by whisking the egg with a few drops of water. Dip the perch fillets in the egg wash, then coat with the breading and set aside.
Perch filets are small and cook quickly so make sure your oil is hot so it will cook quickly and not absorb too much of the oil. You can use peanut oil or the cooking oil of your choice to cook the fish, straining the sediment between uses.
The fried fillets can be served with side dishes like corn on the cob and coleslaw or piled high onto bread with tartar sauce for a delicious perch sandwich.
Homemade Herb Butter
If you prefer healthy perch recipes to fried options, then making homemade herb butter for baking the perch filets is a nice alternative. This is one of the best ways to prepare perch because it is simple and enhances the natural flavor of the fish.
Homemade Herb Butter
• ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
• 3 tablespoons fresh parsley (roughly chopped)
• 1 tablespoon other herbs of choice (dill, lemon thyme and chives are options)
• 2 tablespoons shallot (roughly chopped)
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• ½ teaspoon salt
• freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a food processor bowl. Process until smooth. If you do not have a food processor you can mix ingredients in a bowl with a fork. Be sure to finely chop the herbs and shallots so they combine well when everything is mixed.
Spread a sheet of plastic wrap onto flat surface. Place the butter mixture onto the plastic wrap. Cover it tightly and roll the mixture in the plastic wrap to form the shape of a log.
Place the wrapped butter log in the refrigerator and chill for two hours or until firm.
Once the butter is set you can take out portions as needed. Be sure the butter is at room temperature before you use it on fish to bake.
Fruit salsa is great to add to any perch recipe because it complements the flavor of the white meat nicely while incorporating the flavors of fruit that is in season.
• 1 Cucumber
• 1 Red onion (diced)
• 1 Mango (diced)
• 1 Avocado (diced)
• Fresh mint (chopped)
• Cilantro (chopped)
• Seasonal fruit (optional - strawberries, peaches, plums)
• 1 lime
• 1 can black beans (optional)
Dice the seeded cucumber, red onion, mango, and avocado and add to a bowl. Add in the chopped fresh mint, chopped fresh cilantro, salt and pepper and the juice from one lime. You can also add in a can of rinsed canned black beans if desired.
For added flavor you can include seasonal fruit like diced fresh strawberries, nectarines, peaches, and plums. Another option is to grill the red onion and nectarines, let them cool them and then dice. These added to the salsa offsets the lightness of the perch.
The fresh fish and salsa can be served on cous cous or Farro, piled high with the beautiful colors of the freshest fruits of the season.