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Now You’ve Caught It, What do You Do With It? Local Chefs Share Recipes for Yellow Perch

By Ethan Gaddy

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ice fishing on Lake George has been so good this year that many anglers (and their friends and families) may find themselves at season’s end with a freezer full of Yellow Perch and worse, no idea what to do with it all. To help you avoid that problem, we asked some local chefs for their favorite recipes for preparing Yellow Perch, the poor man’s shrimp.

Jesse Malone, formerly of Bolton Landing’s Lakeside Lodge and Grille responded with a recipe for Tempura Battered Perch. “I cut the filets into strips and place them in cold tempura batter. You can get the batter from the international section of most grocery stores. It’s important to make sure that the water for the batter is very cold, I even put ice in it. Just throw the strips into a saucepot of oil heated to about 350 degrees and let them cook till golden brown. Then serve the bite size strips with some cocktail sauce and fresh lemon. You can make some really good fish tacos as well, just put fresh lime, cilantro, and diced tomatoes in a warm corn tortilla. Crazy.”

Rob Riddle of the Firehouse Restaurant in Hague said he made a Beer Battered Perch. “I like to make a Guinness beer batter. Mix flour, egg, salt, pepper, and  beer. Drop the filets in the batter then put them in the fryer. Perch is nice because it puffs right up and it’s very mild without too much of a fishy flavor.”

Chris Montana, chef and owner of J.C. Montana’s Restaurant in Lake George, said, “I’ve never cooked a perch in my life. But Rich Ortiz is nuts for ice-fishing.”

Richie Ortiz, the hard-working Lake George musician, not only confirmed that he loves to ice fish, but volunteered that he did have a recipe for a dish he calls Perch Parm Scampi. “I have a great recipe for yellow perch. I cook them all the time. I bread the perch fillets in homemade breadcrumbs made from corn meal, flour, parmesan cheese and spices to taste: Cajun spice, garlic, salt, and pepper. I fry onions, chopped bacon, and fresh garlic in olive oil then add the breaded fish. Cook until firm and golden brown. They’re super-tasty and it’s my own little recipe.”

Michael Hinrichs of The Inn at Earlowest in Lake George says the best thing to do with Yellow Perch is simply grill it. “On Lake George, people are given a serious opportunity to catch a fish and eat it the same day. Simply grill it with a little butter and lemon- you can leave the skin right on it. It’s a nice and quick method of preparation. The Yellow Perch is a pretty pleasing fish. Most people will be happy with it.”

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