From the Midwest

From The Midwest

From The Midwest
North Carolina,
September 29
Never Give Up! Never Doubt Goodness and that Includes YOU!
Former English teacher-artist from the Midwest and just another statistic of "The Great Recession." Life goes on . . .


AUGUST 28, 2012 9:39AM

Fried Perch with Tarragon Butter--Foodie Tuesday

Rate: 6 Flag

Summer isn't just about the harvest from the garden. It's also about the fresh catch

of the day!




Did you miss me last week? LOL. I've been working crazy hours at the store and finished up a 41.5-hour week to fill in for someone on vacation. The new kid we hired (22-years-old) only lasted two weeks! It was too much for him. Honestly. Since he quit, I now get to take over his shift for another 40-hour week! Sheesh. My kitchen's a mess. I come home and flop. LOL...  


When I work long hours like this, I look for recipes that cook up relatively fast and easy. Fish is one such item. Working in a grocery store, I get the scuttle butt of what's on sale, fresh and new. This ocean perch was such an item . . .





For most of my life, Lake Michigan was my playground. And a small pond in the woods behind my house. Jones' Pond was an easy mile walk down a well-worn path. It was one of my favorite places. We fished it in the summer. Skated it in the winter. It was home to "suicide hill," a treacherous sled path that steered itself onto the frozen ice below. There were other near-by watering holes, too. Schilling's Swamp. Plum Creek.


Of course, where's there's water, there's fish. And the fresher the fish, the better the meal. Summer isn't just about garden produce. It's about the freshest catch of the day, too.


For this recipe, I used fresh ocean perch that were not frozen. I had Brad, my fish monger, choose about one pound of the smallest filets. 


When coating a fish as delicate as perch, it's important to use crumbs that are as fine as possible. Keep the egg wash light, too. I grew up with "buttered perch." For a summer treat, I finely chopped some fresh tarragon which seasoned the butter. Tarragon, lemon, salt and perch. It's a great combination for a great summer meal.







  • 1 lb. fresh perch filets
  • 2 eggs
  • Milk or cream
  • Self-rising flour
  • Bread crumbs, the finer the better
  • Tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon finely minced tarragon
  • Kosher salt
  • Lemon
  • Oil for frying, about two cups for a 10 - 12 inch skillet.



First, make the butter. Add the minced tarragon to the butter and microwave until melted. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Stir. Set aside.


Rinse, drain and pay dry the fish.





Gently coat with flour. Set aside.





Crack two eggs into a bowl. With a hand-held beater, gently whisk for about two minutes until thick and bubbly. This is important.





 This is what a hand-helf beater looks like.





Add a bit of Tabasco to the egg mixture. I generally use about 6-12 drops or so. Add 1 tablespoon of milk or cream to the mixture and whisk until blended.


Coat each floured filet into the egg mixture then gently coat with the bread crumbs. Place on a plate.



Keep the fish coating light. 




Heat about 2 cups of oil in a cast-iron skillet or heavy pan. When it begins to shimmer a bit, it's ready. If in doubt, put in a crust of bread or two. If it browns too quickly, lower heat. This is probably the trickiest part of frying fish. If in doubt, you could always use a thermometer that measures the heat for you.


Gently slide in a few filets skin side up! The oil will begin to bubble immediately. Cook on each side for about two minutes or so. My filets were small, so 3-4 minutes total did the trick. The first time you flip the fish, moisture will be released and the oil will splatter. Once the flesh begins to crack, it's done. You will constantly have to adjust the heat as you cook and re-add fish.




Nicely browned. Notice how the fish has "cracked." An indication it's done.




Spoon the tarragon butter sauce over the fish. Sprinkle liberally with Kosher salt and a squeeze of lemon.


Fresh fish will not smell up your kitchen. Bad fish will.






After coating my fish with bread crumbs, I froze three filets for later use.



Notes: I use White Lily Self-Rising Flour. It's finer in texture than regular flour. Cake flour is a good substitute. Regular flour is fine, just be sure shake off the excess. I generally use corn oil or peanut oil, about two cups for a 10-inch skillet.




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Haven't tried fish with Tarragon. This looks wonderful. It's next on my list. How are you Gary?/r
I had to Google Ocean Perch Gary I’m from the East Coast. This according to Wikipedia:

“Adults are found primarily offshore on the outer continental shelf and the upper continental slope in depths 150-420 m. Seasonal differences in depth distribution have been noted by many investigators. In the summer, adults inhabit shallower depths, especially those between 150 and 300 m. In the fall, the fish apparently migrate farther offshore to depths of ~300-420 m. They reside in these deeper depths until about May, when they return to their shallower summer distribution”
With what I have been reading about pockets of radiation levels in the Pacific from Fukushima I would be leery of eating anything caught there. May I suggest Tile Fish as a substitute for those who find it hard to get to sleep when they glow in the dark. The habits of the Tile Fish are similar and so is its flesh. You just have to worry about the high mercury levels. And what's wrong with a little mercury anyway? It will make it easier to watch the evening news.
Mmmmm... I do love fish with herbs although my favorite use of tarragon is in Bearnaise sauce ;-)
sounds excellent,tho i like freshwater perch most.....
Oh my. I have been eating quite a bit of fried perch this summer, having found a great place that serves it fast and cheap!
THIS, looks even better! Beautiful post! ~r
I think I just drooled on my keyboard.