Batter Up! Beer Battered Perch and Home Made Chips

Make sure you have a cold one ready...for the batter.

If you are still fishing for recipes to use over Labor Day weekend, you might want to put away your cookbooks and think of getting ready to batter up. Not for baseball but for frying up some Lake Erie perch. However, unlike baseball that involves a bat and a ball, this batter involves a bottle of beer and some perch.  

A recipe for Beer Battered Perch is guaranteed to reel everyone in for dinner. More effective than a dinner bell, the scent of perch being pulled from the deep fryer will catch your family and friends in mid-sentence and make them want to start filling up their plates with some fried filets.

When battering up, it's important to start with cold beer, an item in no short supply in Northeast Ohio. If you don’t, you’ll end up with lumpy batter that won’t do a proper job of dredging all your perch.

Cold beer will create a smooth batter similar to pancake batter that will easily and completely cover all your fresh fish filets. And if you’re Irish, be sure to throw in some Guinness draught brewed in Dublin for a more tasty batter-fried fish.

As far as the alcohol content of your fried fish, there’s no need to worry about this beer batter. In fact, the high heat of the oil during the frying process will burn off the alcohol, leaving behind only good old-fashioned flavor. In fact, this batter is nothing like the cough elixir that my Italian grandfather used to mix up for me and my siblings when we were sick.

True to his Italian heritage and a name like Joseppi Besso, I only remember my grandfather pulling out the bottles from the glass cabinet beside his kitchen for cooking or mixing up a medical remedy of one kind or another. Although there’s probably a law or two about giving that stuff to minors today, back then and certainly in Montana, this was a thrifty method for getting you feeling like your normal self again.

In fact, a tablespoon or two of Grandpa Besso’s elixir was enough to put you out of your hacking, stuffed up misery for several hours. Since the recipe died with him, all I can tell you is that the store-bought cough syrup my mother gave us when we were sick didn’t hold a candle to my grandpa’s elixir.

Since beer battered fish already requires oil for frying, throw in some sliced potatoes for some homemade chips to go along with your perch. Just a few russet potatoes should be sufficient for a fish and chips meal for a party of six. If you fry up the potatoes first and then the perch, you’ll have a meal that should still be plenty hot when it comes time to filling up the plates.

For some tartar sauce for dipping, the homemade Tartar Sauce recipe below is guaranteed to help you create just the right bait to go along with your crispy fried perch. If you are angling for a traditional American tartar sauce that combines freshly squeezed lemon juice, minced onion, relish, capers, and mayonnaise, this recipe is sure to capture the taste of your beer battered perch.

If you decide to round out your meal with a vegetable, the Easy Cole Slaw recipe below is sure to lure your family and friends into adding a large scoop to their already full plate. The recipe below combines fresh cabbage, carrots, and onions along with apple cider vinegar, mayonnaise, and honey. With an added sprinkling of celery seed and a little minced garlic, this recipe is sure to top off a beer battered meal.

Although those of us living in Ohio like our perch, the beer batter recipe below can also be used to coat other types of fish. In fact, if you like, throw some batter over some saltwater fish just for the halibut.

Beer Batter (serves 4-6)

12-15 Perch Filets

1 cup flour

½ cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon sea salt

12 oz. cold beer

flour for dredging

oil for frying

  1. In medium sized bowl, stir together flour, cornstarch, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt. Add cold beer and whisk until smooth. Batter should not be lumpy and have the same consistency as pancake batter.
  2. With one hand, dredge one perch filet in flour. With opposite hand, dip perch filet in beer batter until completely covered.  
  3. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Remove fried filets to a plate covered with a paper towel. Repeat steps two and three with remaining perch.
  4. Serve with lemon wedges, chips, tartar sauce and coleslaw.

Chips (serves 6)

6 medium-sized potatoes

Oil for frying

Sea salt to taste

  1. Peel and cut potatoes.
  2. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Remove chips to a plate covered with a paper towel. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Tartar Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lemon juice (half a lemon)

1 tablespoon dill relish

1 tablespoon minced onion

1 tablespoon capers

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon sea salt

  1. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients.
  2. Refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight.

Easy Cole Slaw

1 head cabbage, shredded

2-3 carrots, shredded

½ cup purple onion

2/3 cup mayonnaise

¼ cup honey

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons celery seed

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine cabbage and carrots. In another small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Stir dressing into the cabbage mixture.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight. Toss before serving.


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