Yellow perch are an overlooked delicacy here in the Pacific NW. Many lakes have strong populations of these perch, they are fairly easy to catch, and are a super tasty little fish. I love to eat them pan fried with a little ketchup, or they make great fish tacos. I wanted to cook some up so I stopped off at Silver Lake this afternoon in hopes of catching a few. Silver Lake is in Cowlitz County, WA. It is about six miles off I -5 at the Castle Rock Exit.
I got to Silver Lake around 4:00pm, so I only had an hour or so before dark. I grabbed my Eagle Claw Featherlight Spinning rod out of the back of the truck, tied on red & white mini jig tipped with a Pautzke Crappie Fire Ball ( Chartreuse/ Garlic) and headed down to the bank. I set my thingamabobber to 4 feet, and started fishing a promising looking area.
It took every bit of an hour, but I was able to squeak out 5 nice perch, plenty for a solo fish fry.
Here is how I cooked them using primarily PNW ingredients
Yellow Perch Fillets: Made in Silver Lake WA
Pride Of the West: Made in Vancouver WA
Johnnys Seasoning: Made in Tacoma WA
Rainier Beer: "Rainier Beer brings together nature’s bounty from the great Northwest."
1. Fillet your Perch
It is best to use an electric fillet knife to fillet Perch. They are pretty small fish and very slippery. An electric fillet knife makes the job much easier. I fillet each side off the bone, then flip the fillet over and remove the skin. I then cut out the rib cage so you are left with a nice skinless, boneless fillet.
2. Fill a zip lock bag with Pride of the West all purpose batter mix.
Add a healthy portion of Johnnys Seasoning salt your zip lock bag, this will give your perch a uniquely PNW flavor.
3. Crack one egg into a small bowl, add milk and stir.
4. Soak fillets in the egg/milk mixture, remove and put into the zip lock bag.
5. Close the zip lock bag and shake until all fillets are fully coated.
6. Remove fillets and place on a plate
7. Fill a cast iron frying pan with about 1/4 inch of avocado oil and heat the oil.
I like avocado oil because it is much healthier than regular oil and has a higher flash point. I use a Lodge Cast Iron Frying Pan - They are great quality and will last a life time.
8. Once the oil is hot, drop the fillets in the oil. It will only take a minute or two on each side depending on how big your fillets are.
9. When the fillets are done, remove from the pan and place on paper towels to soak up any remaining oil.
10. I like to eat mine with ketchup, but they make great fish tacos too.
11. Serve with ice cold Rainier Beer to complete the PNW experience!