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Perch Till It Hurts - Seafood Recipe by John Shields | Maryland DNR Fisheries Service News
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Perch Till It Hurts - Seafood Recipe by John Shields

01/14/2011  |   Posted by svilnit

Tags: Recreational, Recipe, Yellow Perch  

Enjoy this local seafood recipe provided by renowed chef, author, and TV host John Shields.

A friend of mine from Darlington, Maryland gave me this recipe. She got it from her mother who said that if it was spicy hot enough, you'd feel like the Holy Ghost had got hold of you. Now that's a gastronomic moment bordering on a religious experience. This chili-fired tomato sauce is also perfect with sautéed shrimp and most other firm fleshed fish that have been grilled, fried or sautéed.

Serves 6

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus additional oil for frying
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 6 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 to 3 Serrano or jalapeno chilies, minced (see note)
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup tomato juice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt, freshly ground black pepper and Tabasco Sauce to taste
  • 2 pounds Maryland yellow perch fillets
  • Milk, as needed
  • Fish Coating (recipe follows)

Heat the 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pot. Sauté the yellow and green onions, bell pepper, and celery over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until tender. Add the garlic, chilies, tomatoes, tomato juice, wine, lemon juice, Worcestershire and bay leaf. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and Tabasco. Bring to a boil, and then immediately reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 1 hour, stirring often. If sauce gets too thick during cooking add a little water.

For the fish, pour sufficient oil into a heavy skillet to the depth of ¼-inch. Heat the oil until quite hot, but not smoking. Dip the fillets into milk and coat well with the Fish Coating. Shake off excess. Add the fillets and fry until golden brown and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the fillets to a heated platter. Remove and discard the bay leaf from the sauce and serve the fish topped with the tomato sauce.

Fish Coating

  • 1 cup flour seasoned with salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning (optional)
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Note: When choosing what kind and how many chilies to use, know their strength. If you want to minimize the fire, remove the seeds of the chili. If fresh chilies are not available, ¼ to ½ (or more if you like) teaspoon crushed red pepper may be substituted.

Adapted from Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields, Broadway Books