Pan Fried Perch

           

1)      Remove guts, gills and scales from fish.

2)      Salt as much of the inside as the incision hole is usually fairly small.  Salt the outside generously.  For me, I like to apply a generous amount of Cajun seasoning as well. 

3)      In a large skillet, preferably a nonstick surface; pre-heat your oil with a medium-to-medium high flame so that the fish sizzles upon entry.  Hot oil is essential so that your fish will get a nice crisp. Keep children and pets away.  As the fish cooks, fat and moisture released react with the HOT oil.  This sometimes shoots drops of HOT oil into the air.  

4)      Once the fish are put into the pan, donít touch them until they are ready to flip. Moving the fish around prior to the crust developing will sometimes break up the side of the fish facing the bottom of the pan.  This will make for a messy flip and affect your presentation as well as make your fish absorb more oil, tending to make it greasy. 

5)      Try to not get use to a set time for flipping.  Since a thermometer isn't always available to check the oil or fish temperature, itís best to get use to a visual assessment of when itís time to flip.  With whole perch, I usually let it sit for at least 5 to 7 minutes (per side), sometimes longer depending on how scalding the oil is and how large the perch are. If the fish starts to crisp around the belly and the back, itís at this point you can check the bottom with your spatula.   How well the fish is cooked comes down to personal preference.  I like whole fish to be really crispy on the outside.  Once the fish is nicely crisped and has a tan to brown color, itís time to flip.

6)      I only like to flip the fish once.  After flipping, follow the same procedure as the first side.  Crispy, tan, etc; this side should take less time than the first side.  Remove fish from pan and enjoy this tasty delight.