On the weekends, we treasure our family adventures down to the local farmers market picking up locally sourced fresh goodies, talking to the growers and learning about our food. We especially look forward to what the owner of Mackinac Fish Market recently caught and brought down that morning. On this particular day, we spotted a beautiful display of freshly caught lake perch and immediately agreed that’s what we’d cook for dinner. For the fish, we enjoy keeping the recipe quite simple with a light breading so as to not overpower the delicate flaky nature of the perch. The roasted asparagus adds a great visual to the plate and compliments the fish so well with the garlic and freshness of the lemon zest. The twist on the tartar sauce makes all the difference in this dish by adding a light & refreshing flavor combined with a little tang and smooth texture from the Greek yogurt. Overall, this recipe is pretty easy to prepare and is perfect for dining al fresco on a warm Michigan summer day. Don’t forget to pair with a crisp white wine, like a Pinot Gris, and most importantly, Enjoy!
- 2 pounds freshly caught lake perch
- 2 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- Tabasco sauce ( a dash or two)
- Splash of whole milk
- 3 cups bread crumbs
- 3 teaspoons lemon zest, divided
- Salt & pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided (plus more for sautéing the perch)
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter (1/2 stick), divided
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
- ½ pound, baby potatoes
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (recommend using a thick Greek yogurt, like Fage)
- 1 ½ tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon fresh dill, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
- Juice of one ½ lime
- Lemon wedges for serving
For the asparagus:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Arrange trimmed asparagus on the baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread 1 teaspoon lemon zest along with 1 teaspoon crushed garlic over the asparagus, and season with salt & pepper.
- Place asparagus on the middle rack and let roast for about 20 minutes until slightly softened yet still crispy with lightly browned edges. Remove and let rest.
For the baby potatoes:
- Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium heat, add baby potatoes, 2 tablespoons of butter, a dash of olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Cover with a lid, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes have softened, stirring occasionally.
- For the Greek yogurt tartar sauce:
- While the Asparagus and potatoes are cooking, in a medium-sized bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, whole grain Dijon mustard, juice of a ½ of lime, finely chopped dill, and a small dash of Tabasco sauce. Mix until fully combined and smooth, then set aside.
For the lake perch:
- To begin preparing the perch, prep the breadcrumbs & egg wash. Add lemon zest and dash of salt and pepper to bread crumbs in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. For the egg wash, whisk together 2 eggs, splash of milk, and a dash of Tabasco sauce in a medium-sized bowl.
- Next, add 2 cups of flour to a second gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Add perch a few pieces at a time to coat with flour (shake the bag lightly). Remove perch and dip in the egg wash, then remove and add to the bag of bread crumbs (again shake lightly).
- Set pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter, and a little salt and pepper. When oil and butter has hit medium heat, it will sizzle with a tiny drop of water. Begin to add the perch to the pan sautéing the perch on each side until lightly brown, about 3 minutes per side (do not overfill the pan). Remove the perch and repeat the process working in batches and adding olive oil as necessary to the pan.
- Once ready, plate the perch, asparagus, & baby potatoes. Garnish with reserved freshly chopped dill and lemon wedges. Serve with the Greek yogurt tartar sauce on the side.
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Author: Jennifer Kuhar