If you like to eat fish or want to have a healthier diet, perch is a good choice of fish to try. Perch comes in three varieties – European perch, Balkhash perch, and yellow perch.
Perch is a freshwater gamefish that fishermen around the world love to catch because it puts up a good fight.
European perch is found in Europe and Asia. These fish are green with vertical bars or stripes on the sides, and they have a reddish color on the tips of their tails and fins.
European perch have been introduced in other regions, including Australia and New Zealand. European perch grows to a size of 6 lbs. at maximum.
Balkhash perch are found in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and China. These fish are very similar to the European perch, growing to 6 lbs. as well.
The third variety, yellow perch, is lighter in color and smaller than the European perch. This species of perch is found in North America, where it is often referred to as lake perch.
The North American perch is considered good-quality eating, so much so, that it is farmed fished in hatcheries and introduced into the wild even in areas where it isn’t native
Yellow perch looks similar to European perch with a more yellow or lighter coloring. These perch grow to a size of a little over 2 lbs.
Is Perch Good to Eat?
Perch is a favorite among people who love to eat fish. Perch fillets are thin, with white flesh or pink flesh, and can be cooked and served in many different ways.
Many perch fishermen say that perch tastes the best when freshly caught and cooked over an open flame. But, for those who don’t have access to fishermen and fish caught daily, perch is sold in most fish markets and grocery stores.
Because perch provides thin fillets, it cooks quickly, so it can be ready to serve in a short amount of time.
Thin fillets also absorb marinades and seasoning more readily, meaning using a dry or wet marinade will work well with perch.
What Does Perch Taste Like?
Perch is a very popular fish whether you fish for yourself or pick it up on your way home for dinner. It is a tasty fish, often having an almost sweet taste.
It has a bit more flavor than tilapia but is still considered a fish with milder or delicate flavor. It can be used instead of sea bass or tilapia in a recipe, although you may need to adjust seasonings and cooking time a bit.
The texture of perch is thinner than sea bass or salmon or trout, and flaky. Although it’s more flavorful than some white fish, it doesn’t have a fishy aftertaste. Perch is most comparable to walleye, a fish that comes from the same family as perch.
Perch is also plentiful and has a lower price than many other fish if you buy it in the grocery store. It makes a good choice for recipes with sauces and marinades.
According to the USDA, perch has the following nutritional values:
- 54 calories per fillet
- Total fat .5 g
- Cholesterol 53 mg
- Sodium 36 mg
- Potassium 158 mg
- Total carbohydrates 0 g
- Protein 11 g
One serving of perch provides one-third of your daily recommended intake of selenium, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D. Perch is high in omega-3 fatty acids, and just one serving gives you 90 percent of the daily recommended intake.
When you purchase perch fish, the flesh can range in color from light pink to deep pink. When buying perch, the meat should be transparent, not opaque.
Once it’s cooked, it will become opaque completely. Perch fish has very little odor, even when cooking (similar to pollock). You can usually buy single fillets or butterfly fillets (both sides of the fish attached to its skin).
Is Perch Very Fishy?
Fresh perch has very little fishy smell, which is one of the reasons it is popular. When you buy the fish raw, it should only have a slight odor.
If it smells strong, then it’s either not perch or there is something wrong with it.
While perch can range in color, the smell is practically the same for all varieties of perch. Although in the US, the most common perch is yellow perch, sometimes sellers sell walleye as perch. Walleye tends to be larger than full-sized perch.
Preparing Perch for Cooking
You can cook the fish with the skin on or off. Many people like to fillet perch by splitting the fish into two pieces, then removing the bones from the center.
Another option is to cut the skin off completely. To do this, place the fish fillet side down on a cutting board. Using a flexible sharp knife, insert the knife parallel to the skin while holding the tail in place. Cut the skin pointing the knife away from your hand. You can remove bones in the belly section or the center.
Is Perch Better Than Tilapia?
It’s hard to say whether perch is better than tilapia. Since flavor is subjective, each person experiences it in their own way. Tilapia is one of the mildest fish with a very mild flavor and medium-thick fillet.
Tilapia is often sold in single fillets instead of a butterfly cut because of its thickness. It is the best choice for someone who doesn’t like strongly-flavored fish.
On the other hand, perch is also on the milder side when it comes to flavor. It has more flavor than tilapia, and the fillets are thinner. If you want a fish that has more flavor than tilapia, the perch is a good choice.
Or if you’ve started eating fish and want a variety, perch is a great fish to try. Perch offers a different texture and is easy to cook.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you like perch more or less than tilapia. You can easily compare them by buying one fillet of each type of fish, then cooking them to do a taste test.
Should You Add Perch to Your Menu?
Whether you should add perch to your diet is completely up to you. If you do add perch to your menu, you know that you will get a nutritional boost and flavor to experiment with.