My character of Mr. Wilder is dear to my heart because he is loosly based on my father. My dad was a man of little words. He worked full time at a demanding job to care for his family but his passion was fishing. From an early age, he took us girls fishing. I learned how to ice-fish on a cold Ohio pond to ride the waves on Lake Erie in search of Lake Perch.
The Lake Erie Perch is a fresh water, or yellow perch and kin to the Walleye that can also be found in the Great Lakes. The perch has a mild taste and is a frequent staple of Friday Fish Fries around Amherst. But no one makes it as good as my dad.
I thought I'd share the recipe with you, since I write about this yummy treat in Forever Love. Syndie's father makes Lake Erie Perch for dinner one night when, Syn's ex-boyfriend, Thom, comes to visit.
Fried Lake Erie Perch
Approximately 15 Yellow Lake Perch filets (best when caught on Lake Erie)
2 cups Milk (to soak the perch in)
2 cups flour
½ bottle or can of beer
½ cup of Milk
4 cups cracker meal (I like the McCormick/Golden Dipt)
Deep fryer with 6 cups oil or a deep frying pan with 6 cups oil
Wash the perch in water, examining it for any scales that were missed. Then soak the perch in a bowl with the 2 cups milk over night. When you are ready to cook, remove the perch from the milk and put into a baggie filled with flour to coat the filets.
Mix two eggs and equal parts beer and milk in a deep dish. In a separate deep dish (a pie tin works well) pour the cracker meal.
Remove one filet from the flour mixture, place it into the egg/beer/milk mixture then coat in the cracker meal. Lay it on a sheet of wax paper until all filets have been double dipped through the mixtures. If one of the mixtures runs low, add more ingredients until you’ve coated all the filets. Throw out any of the remaining mixtures.
Once the filets have been coated, heat the oil up in the fryer or pan. Place one or two filets into the hot oil and let it cook only until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and enjoy!