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Frying Fish: How to Cook Breaded, Fried Lake Erie Perch in a Cast Iron Skillet

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Lee Tea loves cooking, including with venison and other wild and seasonal ingredients.

Frying Perch

Perch is a delicious, mild flavored white fish that's easy to prepare!

Perch is a delicious, mild flavored white fish that's easy to prepare!

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.

Safety First!

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:

  1. a cast-iron skillet
  2. vegetable oil
  3. pair of tongs or a slotted metal spoon
  4. paper towels
  5. 3 containers for breading individual fillets
Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

5 min

35 min

10-12 servings of perch

Feel for the Bone

Feel for the "Y" bone using the thumb.

Feel for the "Y" bone using the thumb.

Cut Out the Bone

Cut along both sides of the bone to remove it.

Cut along both sides of the bone to remove it.

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Carefully place breaded fish into hot oil using metal tongs or a metal slotted spoon.  Be gentle, as splashing the oil could cause burn or fire!

Carefully place breaded fish into hot oil using metal tongs or a metal slotted spoon. Be gentle, as splashing the oil could cause burn or fire!

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.

Flouring Fillets

After patting the deboned fillets dry with paper towels, coat them in flour.

After patting the deboned fillets dry with paper towels, coat them in flour.

Drying Fillets

Place the floured fillets on wire racks for 10 to 30 minutes, allowing them to dry well.

Place the floured fillets on wire racks for 10 to 30 minutes, allowing them to dry well.

Preparing the Breading

Place seasoned bread crumbs and a beaten egg in separate containers large enough for the fillets to fit into.

Place seasoned bread crumbs and a beaten egg in separate containers large enough for the fillets to fit into.

Instructions for Frying Perch

  1. Once the "Y" bone has been removed from the fillets, pat fillets dry with paper towel.
  2. 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.
  3. Dip the floured fillets in the egg, coating both sides.
  4. Immediately dip the egged fillet in breadcrumbs, covering both sides completely. Return breaded fillets to the wire racks to store for frying.
  5. Once all fillets are breaded, heat vegetable oil in the skillet using medium heat.
  6. 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.
  7. Carefully flip fillets. Fry another 1-3 minutes, until fillets are deep golden brown on both sides.
  8. Remove from skillet and place fillets on a sturdy ceramic or glass (not plastic!) plate lined with paper towels.

Egging Perch Fillets

Dip floured fish into egg, coating both sides.

Dip floured fish into egg, coating both sides.

Breading Perch Fillets

Then dip the egged fillet into the breadcrumbs, coating both sides completely.

Then dip the egged fillet into the breadcrumbs, coating both sides completely.

Preparing Perch for Frying

Store breaded fish back on the wire racks until all fillets are breaded and ready to be fried.

Store breaded fish back on the wire racks until all fillets are breaded and ready to be fried.

Golden Brown Perch

Once the outsides of the fillets are a rich golden brown, carefully turn them over.

Once the outsides of the fillets are a rich golden brown, carefully turn them over.

Fried Perch - Ready to Eat!

Remove fish from skillet and place on a plate lined with paper towels.

Remove fish from skillet and place on a plate lined with paper towels.

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!

Serve as Perch Sandwiches

Perch sandwiches served on a bun with American cheese, garden salad and homemade fries!

Perch sandwiches served on a bun with American cheese, garden salad and homemade fries!

Make It, then Rate It!

Comments

mike on August 13, 2020:

Frying at the correct temp is critical. You have a temp for this oil - 350 / 375?

Sean on January 04, 2020:

Did this recipe with 8 fillets. It turned out well, but I would recommend 3 things:

1. Salt and pepper.

2. 2-3 eggs. I used 2 for less fish than the recipe called for and nearly ran out.

3. 1 cup of flour. While I only did 8 fillets, I am throwing away 1.5 cups of flour. 1 cup would certainly do 10-12.

Lee Tea (author) from Erie, PA on February 09, 2014:

rebeccamealy nice to meet like-minded people! Where's your neck of the woods? I've done the milk and flour and also beer batters...this one's just as easy and as tasty as can be - too good not to share! Thanks for stopping and taking the time to write - be well!

Lee Tea (author) from Erie, PA on February 09, 2014:

Thanks I think! I'm a fan of every word in that sentence lol ...

Lee Tea (author) from Erie, PA on February 09, 2014:

Jackie Lynnley - thanks so much! I love sharing what I've learned being born and raised in the woodland hills, hopefully you'll pick up some useful tips and inspiration from my articles here on HP. Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment - be well!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on February 08, 2014:

This sounds like a great fried perch recipe. I'll bet it would work well with flounder too. In my area we pride ourselves on fresh fried fish, even catfish. We use a milk and flour based coating for frying perch and flounder.

sujaya venkatesh on February 08, 2014:

sure fish lovers would go and grab lee

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on February 08, 2014:

Looks like some really good and interesting hubs. Can't wait to get to more of them.

Lee Tea (author) from Erie, PA on January 26, 2014:

This easy recipe works great for frying most white fish - enjoy, VVanNess!

Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on January 26, 2014:

Yummy! We've been trying to add more fish into our regular diet, but never really mastered the art of cooking fish. We'll have to give this recipe a shot! Thanks!