Perch are common freshwater fish that are abundant in lakes and rivers. They make excellent table fare and are delicious when prepared several different ways. Perch have mild and delicate white meat. They are most often filleted rather than served with the bone intact. Perch fillets cook quickly, so take great care not to overcook them. They are delicious when baked, broiled or grilled, but nothing beats deep fried breaded perch fillets.
Rinse a pound of perch fillets under cold water and place them in a large bowl. Drain off any access water that remains after rinsing.
Arrange the large bowl of fillets, a small bowl, a large plate and a baking tray in a line along your work space. Prepare an egg wash by cracking two eggs into the small bowl and whisking them with a 1/2 cup of milk. Fill the large plate with 2 cups of seasoned breadcrumbs and line the baking tray with paper towels.
Submerge one perch fillet in the egg wash and then transfer it onto the plate of seasoned breadcrumbs. Thoroughly coat both sides of the fillet with breadcrumbs and then transfer the breaded fillet to the lined baking tray.
Continue repeating this process until all of the fillets are breaded and neatly arranged in a single layer on the baking tray. If you run out of room or cover the first layer of breaded fillets with paper towels, begin a second layer on top of the first.
Dispose of any unused egg wash and breadcrumbs and remove the bowls and plate from the work surface. Line the second baking tray with paper towels and arrange it close to the cooking area.
Place a large frying pan on a burner and add enough vegetable oil to cover a single layer of fillets. Heat the pan over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 191 degrees Celsius.
Slowly add the fillets one at a time to the pan. Do not overcrowd the pan. Cook the fillets in batches for four to five minutes or until golden brown. Fillets do not need to be turned in the pan as long as there is enough oil to completely cover them.
Remove the fillets from the pan using a large slotted spoon. Allow the oil to drain off of the fish before placing the cooked fillets onto the second baking tray. The paper towels will absorb any access oil. Repeat the frying process until all of the fillets are cooked.
Move the fillets to a serving platter or plate them on individual dishes. Serve immediately with tarter sauce, a lemon wedge and your favourite side dish.
During the breading procedure, use one hand for dipping fillets in the egg wash while reserving the other hand for coating. This will limit the amount of breadcrumbs that stick to your fingers. Try to cook fillets of the same size together to ensure even cooking. Larger fillets may take an extra minute to cook through.
Use caution when adding the fillets to the hot oil. Slowly slide them into the oil to avoid dangerous splashing.