Cooking with Perch: A Versatile, Global Ingredient

Perch is a mild freshwater fish, prized as both a game fish and a culinary ingredient. Mild, flaky and lean, perch is a delicious dish to include in nearly any diet. 

A Global Delicacy

Perch are small to medium sized fish found in streams, lakes, ponds, and rivers all over the world. Perch are abundant in the Great Lakes, particularly in Lake Eerie. There are three types of perch found in the world: Balkhash, European, and yellow perch. Balkhash perch are found in China, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan and are similar in size to the European perch, which are found in Europe and Asia.

Both species are pale green in color with dark vertical stripes on the side with reddish fin tips. Yellow perch, as the name suggests, are yellow in color and are slightly smaller than European and Balkhash perch. Yellow perch are found throughout North America. 

Image Credit: Andreas Barsch from Pixabay 

Cooking with Perch 

Perch is a flaky and mild fish that can be cooked in a variety of ways. You can saute, broil, grill, bake, roast, steam, poach, or cook perch in parchment. If you’re familiar with cooking trout, then you can easily prepare perch. Our recipe for Trout in Lemon Garlic Butter would taste fantastic with perch instead of trout; a simple compound butter made with minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper is all you need to take these fillets from good to great. A similar recipe that would taste terrific with perch is our Spinach Salad and White Fish recipe, which features tilapia

When cooking with perch, we recommend removing the skin to showcase the fish’s delicate texture and flavor. 

Sourcing Perch

Perch can be difficult to find in supermarkets. Most perch is often sourced from fishermen directly, however some farmer’s markets or specialty shops may carry perch. You can also order perch online, although some vendors may have high minimum order quantities. If that’s the case then we would recommend hosting a fish fry for all your friends and family! Be sure to note that ocean perch is an entirely different species of fish found in cold northern Pacific waters.

Feature Image: Vesa Leppänen from Pixabay 

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