I learned how to cook perch because they are the most popular where I grew up in Ohio. This fish is one of the favorite all around that area. This is probably because they can be caught by lure fishing, which is common in all the small lakes and streams.
All my family learned how to cook perch as this fish was sometime favored when having an outdoor fish fry. When my grandfather was alive, he would have fish fries with loads of perch almost every weekend throughout the summer. Of course I was almost too young to remember these but as far back as I can remember those were the talk of the area. Everyone loved the delicious mild white meat of the perch that was cooked.
Some people hold fish fries right on the banks of a fishing stream as they fish with friends. This offers a festive way of cooking and eating fish freshly caught by the members of your party. Have a large iron kettle with hot oil ready on an open fire for when the fish are cleaned. After the fish is fried, have some hush puppies ready to fry in the hot oil; these go well together. Salads or fresh vegetables can be prepared ahead of time and made readily available in a cooler.
Beat together 1 cup milk and 1 egg until well blended. In another bowl combine 2 cups cornmeal, ½ cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Dip perch or other fish into the egg mixture and them roll in the cornmeal mixture. Carefully drop into the hot oil to fry until lightly brown.
Mix all ingredients thoroughly together. Shape into small balls and fry in hot oil until light brown. Serve with fish.
Some of the fish and seafood that are suitable for frying are bass, butterfish, carp, catfish, clams, cod, eel (parboil for 10 minutes first), flounder, haddock, halibut, mackerel, perch, pickerel, pike, salmon, shad, smelt, trout, weakfish and whiting. A tartar sauce, lemon butter sauce, Creole sauce or hollandaise are all good to serve with fried fish.
When you learn how to cook perch you will find many of the recipes can be substituted with any of your favorite frying fish.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Grease a baking dish. Season fish lightly by sprinkling it with salt. Dip fish into milk and then roll into fine bread crumbs (not cracker crumbs). Place in the baking dish. Place a couple slices of bacon over the top of the fish. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the fish flakes when touched with a fork.
This yeast fish batter with beer is great for frying when you are learning how to cook perch. This makes a light and crispy crust. Pat fish dry before dipping so batter will adhere.
Combine yeast with warm water; set aside.
Combine and mix flour eggs and beer; stir in yeast mixture.
Blend well and dip dry fish in batter and cook quickly in hot oil.
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