PKDavis

On eating perch

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At sunrise Sunday northern MB was on fire. Then a dude set up on my hole, planted two poles using grass shrimp and my bite turned off. His turned on, and after watching him catch and keep perch after perch, called it a morning.

 

There seem to be two schools of thought about how fit surf perch are for the dinner table. While I’ve caught hundreds of them, I’ve always shied away from eating them. The wife jokes that she doesn’t know I’m actually fishing because I talk about catching fish yet never bring them home,  so I finally decided to give one a try. Caught this fatty on Sunday.  Filleted it, then brined one fillet and briefly dry brined the other with a little salt and baking soda (awesome plumping/firming trick for shrimp and other tasties).  Laid down a bed of white onions, leeks, then the fillets, basil leaves, seasoning, a llittle olive oil and olives. Baked At 400 for 20 minutes or so. They were done and beautiful. 

 

We both agreed each fillet tasted ok but the texture was similar to mashed potatoes and I was advised there was no need to bring another one home to eat. Which I welcomed.

 

its a preference thing and I’m glad a lot of people like them. But they’re safe from the table at home for us. 

 

 

 

 

 

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PKDavis the meat can be a little mushy on the Surf Perch, but to me has the flavor and consistency similar but not quite like crab meat (after all they say you are what you eat and perch devour a lot of sand crabs). I love to steam my perch whole with water, white wine & lemon, after gutting and then meticulously peel back the skin and strip all the meat with a fork, being sure to pull out any small bones. I then take the meat and let it sit in the fridge for a day in a little lemon juice. the next day take the meat and mix with Mayo, diced carrots, celery & green onions, salt, pepper & some Italian and panko bread crumbs and an egg or two. Then shape fish cakes with the meat mixture, egg wash & bread crumb the outside and then fry them. The fish cakes are great with a little chipotle lemon aioli or as a fish cake sandwich. I also like them tempura battered and fried. Soaking the fillets in salt water brine and then in buttermilk can help firm up the meat & remove some of the fishy taste, although perch are not that fishy to begin with, prior to frying. Hope this helps and glad to see your catching.

 

Anyone else care to share their preferred Surf Perch recipes?...

Edited by Linesideslayer

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We eat a lot of surf perch. I think its important NOT to try and cook them like a striper or a salmon. Fish cakes are an excellent option (great recipe, Linesideslayer) and we have two other ones we like: 1. ceviche and 2. oven baked.

 

Our oven bake recipe delivers small filets that remind me of the beloved fish sticks we had as a kid. Keep your larger perch, carefully let the small ones go free to get bigger. Kill your fish immediately and bury in the sand. Do not leave them gasping in a bucket in the hot sun, unless you enjoy making your prey suffer and you don't care about the taste of the meat. Filet your perch into two filets per fish, and soak overnight in salt water in the fridge. Drain the brine, then cut each filet into two pieces longways to remove the line of pin bones. Preheat oven to 450. Roll each piece in Italian dressing, then roll in a 50/50 mixture of flour and corn meal. Place on cast iron skillet or griddle and bake for 30 min. until the edges get brown and crispy. No need to turn. After 30 min, if not turning brown, broil for about  5 min to finish. Edges should be crunchy. Serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges. Yum!

 

 

 

 

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I eat most surf perch I catch from the surf, usually discard walleye and shiners.  My order of preference is red tail > barred > striped. 

 

I gut them, cut out the gills, scale them and trim the fins and tail.  My brine consists of water and equal parts sugar and salt.  I leave them in the brine for 1-2hours.

In my experience without brining they are mushy and really nothing else could be done to improve the texture, brine is key.

I feel like the perch are not oily enough to withstand a dry salt brine.

 

Pan frying is my preferred method of cooking them, because it's quick and easy to do when camping.

Before putting them on hot oil (peanut or canola) I dip them into an egg wash and then bread crumbs, flour or corn meal, or some combination of them.

 

Fry them on the oil for about 4-5 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Let the oil drip off on a paper towel for a few minutes.

 

When it's time to eat, hold the fish upright, like it's swimming, with one hand by the head and with the other by the tail, gently slam the fish onto the plate and watch both side of fillets fall off, leaving you holding the skeleton.  Great trick to teach kids who are squeamish about bones how to eat fish.

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Garlic oil and pepper with oil. Satee it rather than frying. Cut line in the meat to allow soaking of marination. Can’t go wrong. It eat the hell out of perch. 

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SASHIMI !!!!

 

Agree with you PK, cooking perch makes them mushy.

For every 20 I catch, I keep 1, and I fillet and eat it raw. 

Edited by BirdDog

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I will add they are excellent BBQd gutted whole and squeeze of lemon, even better if they are BBQd right there in a Fire ring on the beach. I also recommend putting the perch on ice right away after catching if possible, also helps keep the meat firm. I can remember last fall when the bite was hot, bringing a bucket of ice to the beach and filling it with seawater. As we caught larger keepers into the slurry they would go and can remember my hands being numb while filleting them, that meat was firm and sweet when we cooked them. Plan on taking my son out this upcoming Friday for perch in Monterey Bay, will report back soon...

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One of my dive buddies always blasts some for ceviche...I've heard they are really tasty sashimi too...

 

I've only taken a handful of rubberlips over the years, but have always given them away to folks who I know will enjoy them...

 

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Next nice one I see I will take it and try it.

 

: )

 

Sincerely,

 

Jim

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21 hours ago, BirdDog said:

SASHIMI !!!!

 

Agree with you PK, cooking perch makes them mushy.

For every 20 I catch, I keep 1, and I fillet and eat it raw. 

 

On ‎1‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 6:41 PM, regulate said:

I eat most surf perch I catch from the surf, usually discard walleye and shiners.  My order of preference is red tail > barred > striped... 

 

 

I agree with both of you.

 

I find that most of the other perches are mushy. We only keep red tails, and sashimi most of them. We occasionally fry some in very hot oil with only a seasoned flour coating.

Edited by odasan

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gantz88 that looks bomb...sashimi in my book, but with the onion, capers, lemon understand the carpaccio reference (bet drizzled with white truffle oil would add an interesting taste?), spring fish head soup, & simple fried headless gutted. Very inspiring dishes thanks for sharing.  

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Any concern at all eating raw perch, with parasites etc? I think they recommend freezing your salmon before eating it raw... I dunno. But if it's safe, I'm going for it!

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Haven’t spotted any worms in them though it doesn’t hurt to freeze it first. There could be some but nothing like what I’ve seen with striped bass and halibut. I just ate mine raw without freezing them. 

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