Crunchy Polenta Perch

Traverse Magazine’s Food Editor teams up with his chef mom to catch and cook four delicious and iconic northern fish. Here you'll find the pair's recipe for Crunchy Polenta Perch.

Serves 6


  • 12 3-ounce yellow perch fillets (or substitute bluegill, crappie or rock bass)
  • 1⁄2 cup rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons whole millet
  • 2 tablespoons coarse polenta
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cracked Tellicherry peppercorns
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1⁄4 cup avocado oil
  • 3⁄4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Harissa paste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste


Combine all the dry ingredients in a shallow dish and set aside. Add milk to beaten egg in a shallow bowl and set aside. Combine yogurt, Harissa, cilantro and salt to taste in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate. Warm the avocado oil in a large sauté pan to 350°. Dip perch fillets in egg wash then dredge in dry flour mixture to coat thoroughly. Gently lay floured fillets into hot oil flesh side down and cook 2–3 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully turn fillets over and cook skin side down until golden brown. Place two fillets on each warmed plate and serve immediately with yogurt Harissa sauce.

Photo(s) by Mike Murphy