Fried White Perch {A Recipe From “River Folks”

Fried White Perch {A Recipe From “River Folks”

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Whenever I smell fish frying in a pan, I’m instantly transported back to my childhood. There’s just nothing quite like a southern-fried fish and fried white perch are one of our favorites.

Fresh-caught white perch are battered in yellow cornmeal seasoned with salt and pepper, pan-fried until crispy and golden brown. This southern classic recipe for fried white perch produces a flavorful golden crust on the outside with perfectly white flaky meat inside.

fried white perch on a platter

Raised By “River Folks”

One thing about “River Folks”, they sure know how to fry up some fresh fish!

David and I were both raised by “River Folks”. His mama grew up in Tunis, North Carolina right on the bank of the Chowan River and my daddy was born and raised on the bank of the Meherrin River, a tributary to the Chowan about 10 miles or so upstream. So we both grew up eating and enjoying fried fish.

fish frying in pan with mountains in background

I was practically raised on fried fish. My daddy had fish fries all the time. After a good day of catching fish, he would invite friends and family to help eat the catch. And let me tell you, he enjoyed every minute of it. Not a single person would leave hungry from those fish fries.

Today whenever I eat fried fish, I cannot help to think of him and those wonderful fried fish he used to cook and the good times that everyone had at his shop on the farm. I sure do miss my daddy!

fresh white perch

What Are White Perch?

A close relative of the striped bass, a white perch is a small silver-colored fish with a high domed back. White perch are notable game fish that live in brackish waters as well as freshwater tributaries along the East coast of the United States.

Learn more about White Perch HERE

David and I agree that there is no other way we would want them other than fried in hot grease. So that is exactly what we do! However we don’t like to smell up the house with fried food, so we use an electric frying pan outside, like this one. Somehow, I think the fresh air makes the fish even better.

A few weeks ago we were able to get our hands on some fresh-caught white perch while going down to Southampton County to visit my mama. We brought them back and treated our neighbor, who had never had white perch to a classic southern meal like we grew up on. With all that fried fish goodness, I couldn’t help but wonder if we might attract a bear that night…

Let us show you how we fry white perch!

David frying fish outside

How To Prepare Fried White Perch

Pour about 1 to 2 inches of oil into an electric frying pan or large cast-iron skillet. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until a thermometer registers 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, pour the cornmeal into a paper bag and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Working in batches, dredge 3 to 4 fish at a time into the cornmeal mixture. Roll the fish around shaking off excess. This works best if the fish are still a little damp.

fish battered in cornmeal

When the oil is nice and hot, gently place 2 to 3 fish at a time in the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. The fish need room to cook. Turn the fish occasionally, and fry until they are golden brown and cooked through; about 5 minutes.

frying fish
fried fish out of oil with mountains in background

When the fish are done, lay the fried fish on a serving platter lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat the process until all the fish are done.

Serve warm.

fried white perch on platter

What If I Cannot Get White Perch?

If you can’t catch of find white perch, there are many varieties of fish that will work for this recipe such as pan trout, butterfish, croaker, spot, flounder, catfish, crappy, walleye, and sunfish just to name a few. We love all of those too!

What Do I Serve With Fried Fish?

I love how wonderful memories come flooding back with certain foods you eat. Don’t you?

Fried White Perch ~ Fresh caught White perch battered in yellow cornmeal, salt and pepper then deep fried until crispy golden brown. Taught by River Folks! | TheMountainKitchen.com
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5 from 1 vote

Fried White Perch

A southern classic recipe for fried white perch produces a flavorful golden crust on the outside with perfectly white flaky meat inside. From "River Folks"!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Deep Frying, Fish, Fried, Fried Fish, Seafood, White Perch
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 374kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 cups peanut oil for frying
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds white perch 6-8, cleaned, beheaded and gutted

Instructions

  • Pour about 1 to 2 inches of oil into an electric frying pan or large cast-iron skillet. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until a thermometer registers 350 degrees F.
  • Meanwhile, pour the cornmeal into a paper bag and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
    Working in batches, dredge 3 to 4 fish at a time into cornmeal mixture. Roll the fish around shaking off excess. This works best if the fish are still a little damp.
  • When the oil is nice and hot, gently place 2 to 3 fish at a time in the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. The fish need room to cook. Turn the fish occasionally, and fry until they are golden brown and cooked through; about 5 minutes.
  • When the fish are done, lay the fried fish on a serving platter lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat the process until all the fish are done.
    Serve warm.

Notes

What If I Cannot Get White Perch? If you can’t catch of find white perch, there are many varieties of fish that will work for this recipe such as pan trout, butterfish, croaker, spot, flounder, catfish, crappy, walleye, and sunfish just to name a few. We love all of those too!

Nutrition

Calories: 374kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 79mg | Potassium: 541mg | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1.6mg
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8 thoughts on “Fried White Perch {A Recipe From “River Folks””

  • Hi Debbie, most people love fried fish I can not wrap my head around it though I have to bake all fish, sorry… I can not do OIL. I know you both enjoyed it-why? ‘Cause I just do! Go Girl! Cheryl.

      • Ha-you might be right but my arteries 20 years from now won’t be clogged with oil and whatever else they say is bad eating and cooking with too much oil does over time to oneself?! I have a very conservative Doctor! HeHe but I am a good patient. I’ll let you two cook away with it from time to time and I’ll enjoy from afar. Nope, I do not even eat fried French Fries either! In fact, the smell of cooking oil makes me gag almost. I know Its me! Your FL Bud, Cheryl Hey Debbie you are going to love Sarah and her two web sites I know I do!!!

    • Thanks, Sarah!

      I just discovered your blog. Can’t wait to check out some more of your recipes. Thanks for following! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Everyone knows fish fried outside is better! Before the laws changed, we would catch fresh herring, clean them, and cook them right there on the bank (often while one was still fishing). Then you eat with one hand and hold the net with the other!

    • Yes, those were the good ole days! I have never been much on “herns” as we called them back home. Too boney for me. I like a meaty fish!

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