20 whole scaled, gutted, and trimmed perch
6 cups Frank Davis Gourmet Fish Fry
6 cups peanut or vegetable oil
6 fresh lemons, quartered
4 large onions, thinly sliced
3 large bottles tartar sauce
1—Pour out the fish fry into a large 11 x 14-inch disposable, aluminum, baking pan or into a Flip-N-Fry Coating Bowl. Then set it aside until you get all the fish prepped
2—When you’re ready to fry (the mix is also excellent for frying shrimp, oysters, crawfish tails, soft-shell crabs, and scallops), wet the perch thoroughly, roll them thoroughly in the fry mix, and set them aside on a piece of waxed paper or freezer wrap for about 2 minutes to “rest.” Do not dip the them into an egg wash! Do not smear them down with yellow mustard!
3—Take a heavy cast iron skillet or high-sided frypan, pour in the oil so that it will just come about halfway up on the perch (oil about an inch and a half deep should be perfect), and heat it between 375 and 400 degrees. Don’t guess at this—I recommend you use a thermometer to set the right temperature.
4—Drop the coated fish into the oil, waiting a few seconds before adding each one. Putting too many bream into the oil all at once lowers the frying temperature too much and you end up “boiling ‘em in oil” rather than “frying ‘em.”
5—Don’t overcrowd the fish! Give each one his own “frying space.”
6—For perfectly fried perch, drop them into the oil and cook them on each side for about two to three minutes, depending upon their size. You’ll know they’re done to perfection when they become honey-golden and crispy-crunchy on the outside, and they flake easily when on the inside with just a light twist of a fork.
7—As they come out of the fryer, drain each one on several thicknesses of brown Kraft paper or absorbent paper towels and serve them immediately with fresh-squeezed lemons, thinly sliced onion rings, or tarter sauce.
Follow this recipe and I promise you the best “lil’ putches” you ever had!
To turn your perch into fillets, first take a sharp knife and cut off the head. Then run the tip of the blade down the dorsal spine, using the backbone for a guide. Now lift the fillet from the backbone and shave the belly portion away from the rib bones by using short knife strokes. Repeat the procedure on the other side of the fish. Finish up by placing the fillets scales-sides down on the cutting board, taking the knife, and separating the meat from the scales.
To get the finest taste possible in your fried seafood, use only the highest quality oil you can find. Bargain brands end up tasting greasy and they tend to burn too quickly. Oh—and whenever you fry seafood, use the oil only once then throw it away. Do not strain it and use it again. High frying temperature cause it to break down and impart a heavy, rancid taste when used the second time.