Here in Suisse-Romande, we live near Lake Neuchâtel—the largest lake contained entirely within Switzerland (Lac Leman/Lake Geneva is bigger, but Switzerland has to share it with France.) We can easily find fresh lake fish at our local farmer’s market, fishmonger and grocery stores. One type of fish we commonly cook at home is “perche” (sounds like “pear-sh”), or what I know as “perch.”
Growing up in Minnesota (a.k.a., the land of 10,000 lakes), I remember going on early morning fishing trips. We caught perch from the shore that were too small to keep. Many years later in New Hampshire with my husband’s grandfather, I went fishing from a row boat on the duck pond. Back at the family cabin, the perch filets would be dredged in flour, fried in butter and served for breakfast alongside blueberry pancakes.
Now in Switzerland, after picking up some “filets de perches” on Saturday, I adapted a recipe from Migros—Perches aux herbes sur lit de salade—to make a relatively quick lunch.
Cornmeal and Herb-Crusted Perch
300 grams perch filets
2-3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup flour
1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut milk
4 tablespoons fresh herbs (e.g., parsley, basil, cilantro), finely chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup finely ground cornmeal or polenta
Prepare the three coatings and place them in separate containers (shallow bowls or pie plates work well).
First, dredge the fish filets in the flour mixture. Then, coat them with coconut milk. Finally, place them in the cornmeal mixture and turn them over a few times to make them evenly coated.
Add about 2-3 tablespoons oil to a large frying pan and cook the first over medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes per side, until it flakes easily.
Serve the fish over salad greens with oil and vinegar or with your favorite tartar sauce.
How do you cook perch filets? We have yet to try the many local ways to prepare them!