I grew up with a daddy who loved fishing (still does, actually!). We would spend long days on the river, come back home and eat fresh-caught perch or walleye, two very common types of fish in Quebec. When I moved to Charlottesville, I realized that these two types of fish weren’t common at all around here. A few weeks ago, I found ocean perch at the supermarket. Obviously, it couldn’t be exactly like river perch but I figured it was worth a try. I froze it and finally decided to use it last night. The first big difference from what I am accustomed to is that people here don’t prepare the fillets the way my dad does. They leave the skin which is really gross to me. I did decide to leave the skin on, after moments of considering cutting it off, as I worried I might destroy the fillets.
Then it came time to decide what recipe I’d make with it. My dad always pan-fried the fillets after putting his secret flour mixture on the fish. Unfortunately, he was unavailable to give me the recipe so I had to come up with something else. Somehow, my mind went to fish tacos. It is important to note that I have never had a fish taco so it was interesting that it came to my mind so quickly. Once again, I hit a rock when I realized we only had one flour tortilla left. So I browsed FoodGawker for ideas. I ended up finding a deconstructed fish taco recipe that looked really tasty. I realized I didn’t have all the ingredients for the side dishes but I could still make the fish fillets and rice. My next obstacle was that I was not willing to fry the fillets like the recipe suggested. So I decided to look up how to bake perch. I finally found a few websites that suggested to bake it at 450F for 10 minutes. It sounded good and easy enough for me. Then I made one final modification. Instead of covering the fillets with breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, I decide to swap half of the breadcrumbs for oatmeal. Oatmeal have more nutritional value but mostly, I figured it might look prettier.
As a side dish, I went to our little garden (picking for the first time this year, yay!) and grabbed some of our spinach and lettuce. I made us each a little bowl of salad with apples and carrots as garnish (my husband is very picky so I have to keep it simple), with a dash of raspberry vinaigrette.
I have to say that although I was scared of making a fish meal (I get easily grossed out from fishy tastes and smells…that’s what I get for growing up with fresh mild-tasting fish!), it turned out to be a pretty tasty and healthy meal.
Here’s the recipe I used for the fish marinade and the rice:
The Cozy Apron: Deconstructed fish tacos