The local fisherfolk I’ve seen out on the ice all winter inspired my Twice as Tasty column this week for the Flathead Beacon. I prefer to fish in warmer weather, wading into a stream with a fly rod in hand. But each time I see someone on the ice, I’m tempted by the idea of a panful of freshly caught perch. I made due with tilapia when developing my recipe for Panfish Piccata, and the result was delicious even if you head to the freezer instead of the frozen lake for the main ingredient.
I like this technique for cooking fish on the stovetop because the flour cuts down on the oil splatters but isn’t as messy as breadcrumbs. It’s also a one-pan meal, with the sauce following the fish into the pan and picking up some of its flavor.
The main sauce flavor is lemon; if it’s too strong for your tastes, start with half of a lemon in the sauce and squeeze extra on when serving if you then decide you want more. The small dab of flour mixed into the butter thickens the sauce far more effectively than you might suspect. The capers add a nice pop of flavor, and lovers of pickled foods may want an extra tablespoon. I use the Pickled Nasturtium Seeds, a homegrown replacement for capers, from my cookbook, The Complete Guide to Pickling, but store-bought ones work too.
Learn more about cooking panfish and get the complete recipe for Panfish Piccata in my column.
Twice as Tasty
Panfish is best cooked and eaten immediately, but you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. I like the extra pieces in fish tacos; the fish can be reheated in its sauce on the stovetop, but be careful to just bring it up to temperature and avoid recooking it.
To be honest, we’re more likely to cook fish for tacos on the grill—even in February. Grilling remains my favorite way to cook most fish. Here are just a few of my other recipes for preparing fish, in the kitchen and outdoors. You can find more fish and shellfish recipes in the recipe index.
- Mediterranean Fish Cakes
- Gravlax (Salt-Cured Salmon)
- North African-Inspired Grilled Fish
- Whiskey-Basted Grilled Salmon
- Grilled Fish Skewers
- Grilled Fish Tacos
Want more Twice as Tasty recipes? Get my books! Click here to order a personally signed, packaged, and shipped copy of The Complete Guide to Pickling directly from me. I also share tasty ways to use pickles in The Pickled Picnic, a digital collection in an easy-to-read PDF format; it’s only available here.