Perch are found mostly in the waters of continental Europe, Asia and North America. European varieties include the common perch, pike-perch, rainbow perch and Rhone streber. It's a fish that measures from 20-50 cm and weighs between 1 and 3 kg. It has a fairly tall body and large mouth. The edge of the branchial operculum ends in a spur and the spokes of the dorsal fin are spiny. The pelvic and anal fins are red. The sides have 6-9 dark stripes. The perch lives in calm clear waters and feeds on small animals and fry.
Of a gregarious nature, this long fish congregates in schools near the surface of the shore. Varying in size, the adult can be 20-30 cm; only exceptionally do you find specimens over 50 cm or 3 kg!
Look for flesh that is firm, moist and with a pleasant fresh smell.
A fish seller might try to give you roach fish fillets instead of perch. According to Daniel Masson (Les poissons du Léman, Editions Slatkine, Geneva, 1989) you can distinguish them as follows: Perch without its striped skin can be identified on the plate by the tiny black filaments that are found in its cooked flesh: white fish don't have them.
Wrap well in plastic wrap or place in a covered container.
Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months (providing your freezer operates at -18°C).
Perch is highly appreciated in Savoie, where it is served fried. It is found in many lakes in Switzerland and is enjoyed plain, meunière or with parsley.
Photo: Leman Lake Fishermen's Association
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