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Outdoors: ‘Perch Way Cool’ easy to prepare

There are dozens of different species of fish found in Illinois waters but one that is on every angler’s list of favorites is the colorful yellow perch.

Lake Michigan is known worldwide as one of the best perch fisheries there is.

Perch are not difficult to catch, but the real reason yellow perch are so popular is because they are one of the tastiest fish to eat.

Preparing perch for the table is a wonderful way for the family to cap a day of fishing because everyone can participate. The process is easy but any time you are working in the kitchen, your folks should be on hand to help with the frying.

I call this recipe “Perch Way Cool,” because it’s perfect for introducing kids to the joys of sharing the harvest and that’s exactly what they will say once they try it.

You will need the following items and ingredients: two bowls and a platter lined with paper towels.

In the first bowl, mix a half-cup of milk and one beaten egg. In the second bowl, mix a cup of all-purpose flour, a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Don’t season it too much.

The perch should be scaled and cleaned and washed under cold running water. (If the adults knows how to fillet, that’s perfect for preparing perch. And, you don’t have to deal with the bones.)

Now, the kids are in charge.

Place the perch in the milk and eggwash. Then transfer the fish into the bowl with the flour and thoroughly cover all sides.

Hand the battered perch to a parent, who should have heated approximately a half-inch of vegetable oil in a frying pan until it is very hot (375 degrees). The oil has to be very hot, so it sears the fish quickly, locking in the flavor and keeping it from absorbing too much of the oil.

Carefully put the perch into the hot oil to avoid splattering. Fry the fish two to three minutes on one side until it is golden brown, then turn it over and fry the other side for one to two minutes. How long the fish is fried depends upon how thick it is. Small fillets fry quickly.

When done, remove the perch and place it on the paper towel to absorb as much oil as possible.

Continue the assembly line process until all the perch are fried. Sprinkle french fries around the edge of the fish on the platter and serve. That’s all there is to it.

Some enjoy a little dipping or tartar sauce with their perch. That, too, is a simple project for the family.

Mix several teaspoons of relish with double the amount of mayonnaise and some yellow mustard. Then chill while you’re frying the fish. Adjust the recipe so it’s what you like.

You also can squeeze a little fresh lemon on the fillets before dipping them in the tartar sauce.

Fishing with family and friends is a great way to spend time outdoors. Sharing a platter of sizzling, delicious fillets once you get home makes it truly special. Quick and easy to prepare ... that’s what makes this recipe for a “Perch Platter” way cool.



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