Fried Lake Perch with Sally Lunn Croutons Recipe | PBS Food

Fried Lake Perch with Sally Lunn Croutons

Fried Lake Perch

James Monroe and his family would have dined on lake perch and other fish that naturally lived in ponds and lakes near his Virginia estate. The use of Sally Lunn croutons shows the frugal nature of an 18th century cook, never letting any ingredient, even day-old bread, go to waste.

A Recipe by Chef Walter Staib


Yield: 8 servings



  • 4 perch fish
  • 8 slices Sally Lunn loaf, sliced into 1 ½ inch segments
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Catchup to last 20 years, or fish sauce
  • 1 cup flour
  • oil for fying
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • 2 lemons, sliced, for garnish


  1. Preheat oil to 350 degrees
  2. Sprinkle lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and 1 teaspoon catchup over fish and let sit 5 minutes.
  3. Dredge fish in flour to coat completely. Shake to loosen any excess flour and repeat to cover the fish well in flour.
  4. Fry fish until golden brown, checking for doneness by wriggling the tail bone loose.
  5. In the same oil, fry the Sally Lunn slices until golden, being careful not to burn.
  6. Arrange croutons on a platter and squeeze with 1 teaspoon catchup and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce.
  7. Arrange fish on top of croutons and garnish with parsley and lemon slices.