Frying Fish: How to Cook Breaded, Fried Lake Erie Perch in a Cast Iron Skillet
Q: My outdoorsy friends gave me a pack of Lake Erie perch fillets as a gift. I hear they're delicious, but I'm not familiar with cooking or frying fish. What do I do with it?
A: You eat that stuff - it's delicious!
Don't fret - perch is a cinch to prepare! If you have any experience with breading and frying anything, this recipe will be very familiar to you. And if you don't, here's the step-by-step instructions on how to fry perch.
You'll be placing breaded perch in hot oil, so be familiar with frying safety. Here's a few safety tips to get you started:
- The oil will get very, VERY hot!
- So will the cast-iron skillet. Do not grab the skillet handle with your bare hands!
- Watch out for splattering oil.
- Do not overheat the oil.
- Use metal tongs or a slotted spoon to add and remove fish.
- Have a lid for the pan and baking soda ready in case of grease fire.
Grease fires are not normal fires. Never throw water on a grease fire! Turn off the heat source and smother the fire by cutting off its supply of oxygen with a lid or baking soda. Research frying safety before trying this recipe. This article mentions what to look out for, like boiling and smoking cooking oil, and how to put out a grease fire.
You Will Need...
For this recipe, you will need:
- a cast-iron skillet
- vegetable oil
- pair of tongs or a slotted metal spoon
- paper towels
- 3 containers for breading individual fillets
Feel for the Bone
Cut Out the Bone
Begin by Removing the "Y" Bone
Though cleaned and deboned, home-prepared fillets like perch usually still have one small bone in them called the Y-bone. Why? Well, because when you remove this bone, your fillet makes a "Y" shape.
Begin preparing the perch by removing the Y-bone from the fillets. The small bone is in the center of the bottom of the fillets and can be felt by gently bending the fish and rubbing your thumb up along the center, starting from the bottom. You'll feel the bone go about halfway up the fillet. Using a sharp fillet knife, cut the bone out by slicing it out in a long triangle shape along both sides of the bone. What we're left with is a "Y" shaped fish fillet, which is now ready to prepare for frying!
- 10-12 Perch Fillets, thawed
- 1-2 cups flour, enough to coat fillets
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1-2 cups bread crumbs, enough to coat fillets - Italian seasoned works well
- vegetable oil, enough to nearly cover fillets in skillet
Frying Perch in Hot Oil
Be Prepared for Hot, Quick Frying!
Before beginning, read through the recipe closely to prepare. The oil is hot, it needs to be watched closely for signs of overheating, and the frying time is very quick. Once the oil is hot enough for frying the process goes very fast. Bread all fillets before starting and have a paper towel lined plate ready to hold the cooked fillets as they need removed from the skillet.
Preparing the Breading
Instructions for Frying Perch
- Once the "Y" bone has been removed from the fillets, pat fillets dry with paper towel.
- Coat fillets on both sides with flour and place on wire racks to dry for 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile place breadcrumbs in one container large enough to hold the fillets, and the beaten egg in another.
- Dip the floured fillets in the egg, coating both sides.
- Immediately dip the egged fillet in breadcrumbs, covering both sides completely. Return breaded fillets to the wire racks to store for frying.
- Once all fillets are breaded, heat vegetable oil in the skillet using medium heat.
- When hot enough for frying, carefully add a few (3 - 4) fillets to the hot oil using tongs or spoon. Fry for 1-2 minutes or until the edges turn a rich golden brown.
- Carefully flip fillets. Fry another 1-3 minutes, until fillets are deep golden brown on both sides.
- Remove from skillet and place fillets on a sturdy ceramic or glass (not plastic!) plate lined with paper towels.
Egging Perch Fillets
Breading Perch Fillets
Preparing Perch for Frying
Golden Brown Perch
Fried Perch - Ready to Eat!
Serve it Up! The Fried Perch Sandwich
Perch can be baked, battered, or breaded, but there's nothing that matches the tasty satisfaction of a fried perch sandwich. With a crunchy breading, delicate white fish texture and mild flavor, breaded fried perch is an easy please. If you're cooking perch, try this Great Lakes recipe for a delicious dinner delight!