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Panko-Crusted Perch


Fried perch crusted with Panko breadcrumbs, served in a lettuce cup with spicy mayo.

Recipe and photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
• 1 pound of boneless perch fillets
• 2 to 3 large eggs
• ⅓ cup of all-purpose flour
• 1½ cup of Panko breadcrumbs
• 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, plus extra
• Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
• 1 cup of mayonnaise
• 4 teaspoons of Sriracha sauce
• 4 teaspoons of lemon juice
• Vegetable oil for frying
• Lemon wedges, for serving

1. To make the spicy mayo, combine mayonnaise, Sriracha, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Add or subtract amount of Sriracha to taste. Set aside.

2. Assemble your dredging station: In a wide bowl, beat eggs until no whites are visible and mixture begins to form small bubbles at the edges. Pour Panko breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl/dish and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Then pour flour into another. Heat frying oil to 325 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. First lightly coat a perch fillet with flour, shaking off excess, and then dip it into the egg mixture and then finally coat with Panko. Fry on both sides until golden and drain on paper towels or a cooling rack. Repeat with the rest of the fish, adjusting heat as necessary. As you work, keep fried fish warm in the oven on the “warm” setting.

Do not overcrowd the fry pan — oil temperature will drop too quickly, which will result in greasy fried fish. Also, do not allow the oil to get too hot, as Panko breadcrumbs can burn quickly. Continually keep an eye on the oil temperature with a thermometer and adjust the heat as you cook. If you’re not used to working with Panko, it helps to have an extra set of hands in the kitchen.

4. Serve fried fish with spicy mayo for dipping and lemon wedges on the side. For a light meal, serve the fish in butter lettuce cups with sliced cucumber, pickled carrot and a dollop of spicy mayo on top.  

Recipe sponsored by Walleye Direct

About Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

NEBRASKAland Associate Editor Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and moved to the United States with her parents in 1992. She graduated from Bolsa Grande High School in Garden Grove, California, in 2008 and completed her bachelor’s degree at UCLA in 2012. Wheatley was editor-in-chief for her high school newspaper and continued to write in college, freelancing for various publications, the Tiger Woods Foundation and writing for her blog FoodForHunters.com. After graduating college, she moved to Nebraska in early 2013 to join the Commission as Regional Editor at NEBRASKAland Magazine. She then became associate editor in 2015. Wheatley enjoys hiking, camping, horseback riding, hunting, fishing and wild game cooking.