Perch is a great “beginner" fish for people who have little experience eating or cooking fish successfully. One of the most straightforward ways to cook fish fillets is to sauté them, which also allows you to season the dish to suit your palate or the preferences of a persnickety diner who thinks he doesn't like fish because it tastes too “fishy.” Consider using herbs that will complement the seasoning of the side dishes that you plan to serve with the flavorful, flaky perch.
Things You'll Need
- Minced garlic
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Herbs, to taste
- All-purpose flour
- White wine, optional
- Lemon juice
Thaw frozen perch in your refrigerator overnight. Keep the fish in its original packaging or cover it while it thaws.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Use about 1/2 tablespoon of butter per fillet. Add minced garlic to the melted butter, if desired, then sauté it until it is tender.
Season the perch fillets lightly with salt, pepper, and an herb that complements fish well, such as tarragon, thyme, dill or oregano.
Dredge the fillets in all-purpose flour and shake off the excess.
Lay the perch fillets in the skillet and sauté them for approximately 2 minutes or until the bottom side is golden brown.
Turn the fillets carefully with a spatula. Handle them gently to avoid breaking them or splashing the butter.
Sauté the fillets until they are golden brown. Properly cooked perch should be white and opaque throughout and should break into clean, discernible flakes.
Remove the perch from the skillet with your spatula.
Cook the remaining butter to create a sauce, if desired. Add more butter if you need to increase the volume. You can also add white wine, if you desire, and reduce it to a saucelike consistency. Cook the sauce until it is brown, approximately 3 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and add lemon juice to taste. Stir the sauce then pour it over the fish before serving.
Tips & Warnings
- Avoid frozen perch stored above the frost zone in a grocer’s freezer case because the temperature is not sufficiently cold above the frost line. Likewise, do not purchase packages that show excessive ice crystals on the fish or inside of the bag, which indicate that the fish thawed and refroze. Frozen fish that has not stayed frozen consistently has a greater risk for contamination and spoilage.