Marine News from the Great Lakes

Nautical Recipe: Coconut Perch

Simple, Easy, and Delicious!

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013 7:00 am
By: Hook to Cooking with Mark & Debbie


clientuploads/news/February 2013/Recipe_CoconutPerch.jpgHello Great Lakes lovers,

Whether you’re fortunate enough to catch your own perch, have a fisherman friend that gives you some fish, or you purchase your perch from the local fish market, you will know that this is one of the best fish from the great lakes. The nice thing is that you may have your freezer stocked with perch from the summer or you plan on doing some ice fishing, perch can be enjoyed year round. Perch can be cooked any which way—grilled, baked, sautéed or pan fried, broiled, or deep fried. I haven’t had a bad one yet. Of course there are many different ways to prepare them depending on how you plan to cook them. My favorite way is fried—pan fried or deep fried. When we did fishing charters we caught lots of perch and always prepared a shore lunch for our customers with some of the catch. Being creative, we would try blending different ingredients to make the perfect bread coating and test it out on our charter guest. In a short story, that is how Hook to Cook Gourmet Food came about. We make three different products, Pre Dip, Coconut, and a Light and Crispy.

Our packaging has limited space to give you all of the ways to use our products. In case you haven’t tried them, here are a few tips on ways that you get different taste from the same products.

Pre Dip was originally made to be an egg wash that prevents your breading from falling off—works awesome! Some times we just dust the fish with Pre Dip and fry, giving a very light crust. If you have side dishes that are of ethnic origin, you can add spices of your choice to the Pre Dip to give your food that underling flavor.

Pre Dip as a tempura batter and also a beer batter is a great way to serve your perch. Simple dust the moist perch in dry Pre Dip and then into Pre Dip mixed with Club Soda or Beer. The mix should be about the consistency of a thin pancake mix.

Coconut perch in my opinion is far better than any coconut shrimp that I have eaten. Perch are a sweet fish to start with and the coconut breading complements it perfectly. What makes Hook to Cook so much better? We use 100% real unsweetened coconut flaks and no artificial coconut flavoring. Hence the higher cost. We use unsweetened coconut so that it does not burn when frying. The sugar is what make the coconut turn black and gives a bitter taste. Some people don’t like coconut flavor. The dislike of coconut flavor is generally because artificial coconut flavoring has been added. When developing Hook to Cook Coconut breader, we had an opportunity to taste artificial coconut flavor to consider using less coconut flakes to cut cost. To say the least, it was terrible tasting and I could not get that taste out of my mouth for three days. If you think of the cost of perch, whether you caught them yourself or bought them, they are not cheap. So why put on a ten cent bread crumb?

While frying is my first choice, baked and grilled perch can produce excellent quality with less fat. You will notice that our products are virtually fat free. They only contain a small amount of canola oil to keep the dust down when blending. To get great crispy results on the grill or oven bake, you will need to spray your breaded fish with your favorite cooking spray and place on a baking sheet into a 450 degree oven, tuning once until crisp. Use the same technique for the grill. Get the grill good and hot, then place your fish on the grill making sure they do not have direct contact with the flame. Tin foil comes in handy.

For our Light and Crispy, the same as above applies. If you plan on using our products as a beer batter, be sure to let stand for 5 minutes before using the beer batter. Most of the time, you will need to add more beer to get a thinner batter. Also once you have dipped your fish into the batter, be sure to place each piece separately into the fry pan or deep fryer to prevent them from sticking to each other. Trust me—I’ve seen a wad of walleye come out of a turkey fryer the size of a bowling ball because someone put the battered walleye in by the handfuls.

Hopefully you will find some of these tips useful, and remember, when you use the Pre Dip as an egg wash, you can be creative by substituting orange juice or other favorites instead of mixing with water. Also in the wet or dry Pre Dip is where to add spices to kick it up a notch such as Cajun, cayenne pepper, taco seasoning(for fish tacos), and so on.

Below is a simple easy and delicious recipe for some of the best Coconut Perch you have ever eaten.

COCONUT PERCH (serves 4)

2 Cups Hook to Cook Coconut Coating
1 Cup Hook to Cook Pre-Dip*
16 medium Perch filets
Cooking oil

Wash and pat dry filets.
Put ½ cup Pre-Dip in medium size paper bag. Add several pieces of the perch at a time and shake to coat. Shake off excess Pre-Dip. Place on plate. Continue until all filets are coated.
In shallow dish, mix remaining Pre-Dip with water using a whisk until smooth.  Coat each filet with Pre-dip, making sure all dry surfaces are coated.
In another medium size bowl, add the Hook to Cook Coconut Coating, and coat each piece evenly.
When all are coated, heat oil to 350° and fry until golden brown. Serve immediately with Hook to Cook Tropic Sauce or your favorite plum sauce.
We would like to hear from you with suggestions and special dishes from your galley favorites. If we use it in an article, we will send you free samples of Hook to Cook products. Find more recipes at

Email us at: [email protected]
Mark & Debbie Hagendorff

tags: Recipes

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