Bring a Little Zest to Chilly Nights With These Fish Sandwiches Topped with Coleslaw

A recipe for lake perch sandwiches, excerpted from the cookbook "The Lemon Apron Cookbook," by Jennifer Emilson

I’m putting it out there: Lake Erie yellow perch is like the candy of the fresh fish world. So tender and practically sweet. Even people who don’t like fish like lake or yellow perch. There is something of an obsession over it in Southern Ontario. But of course, you can source it elsewhere in North America. Just ask your fishmonger. Otherwise, substitute with some fresh pickerel or walleye. Serve this with french fries or chips. I have to admit, Jim and I like store-bought frozen crinkle fries—they remind us of our childhoods. So a baking sheet of freezer french fries is fine by me! For best results, make the coleslaw and tartar sauce a day ahead.

Lake Perch Fish Sammies

Serves 4
Makes 8 to 12 sliders
Prep Time 1 hour + chilling
Cook Time 20 minutes



  • 1¼ cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1¼ cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely grated
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1½ tsp seasoning salt

Tartar Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup finely diced dill pickles
  • 1 tbsp pickle or lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp capers, chopped
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 tsp chopped dill
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Lake Perch Fish

  • Neutral oil, for frying
  • 1 cup flour, divided
  • 2 tsp seasoning salt, divided
  • 6 oz (175 ml) local craft lager (½ bottle), divided
  • 1 lb (450 g) lake or yellow perch fillets (see Note)
  • Flakey finishing salt

For Serving

  • 12 slider buns Butter
  • French fries or Rosemary Potato Chips


For the Coleslaw

Place the cabbage, carrots, and shallots in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, honey, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard powder, and seasoning salt. Taste the dressing and adjust to taste. Add to the slaw and mix together until everything is well combined. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the Tartar Sauce

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy with a bit of texture. Use a bit more pickle juice to thin it out, if desired. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.

For the Lake Perch Fish

Using a wok or high-sided cast-iron Dutch oven, heat 1½ to 2 inches of oil to 375°F, monitoring the temperature with a thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, the oil will
shimmer when it’s ready and you can test the oil with some batter as directed on page 82. Make sure any long handles are pointed away from you. Line a baking sheet with paper towel.

Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, whisk together ¼ cup of the flour and 1 teaspoon of the seasoning salt. Set aside. Place the remaining
¾ cup flour (110 g) and remaining 1 teaspoon of seasoning salt in a separate bowl. Whisk half of the beer into it until you have a batter with a thin consistency that just coats the back of a spoon. Let it rest for about 10 minutes and sip the beer while you wait! If the batter is still thick, add a bit more beer, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Otherwise, you run the risk of the coating turning soggy when the fish is being fried and while it sits afterwards.

Working with one fillet at a time, dip the fish in the dry mixture, shake off any excess, and then dip into the batter. You may see some of the fish peeking through the batter, which is fine. Repeat with the other fillets.

If you don’t have a thermometer, gently drop ¼ teaspoon of the batter into the oil. The batter should bubble up immediately. If not, continue to heat the oil and try again.

When you’re ready to fry, working in batches, use a spider to add two or three fillets to the hot oil. Fry until the coating is a lovely golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Monitor the oil and keep it between 340°F and 360°F while the fish is frying. You may need to give it a few minutes to come back to temperature between batches. Drain on the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt.

To Serve

Slice the buns and spread them with butter. In a skillet over medium-high heat, or using the oven set to broil, lay the buns cut side down (or cut side up for the broiler), until toasted. This should only take a few minutes.

Spread some tartar sauce on the bottom bun. Add the fish, and top with 2 tablespoons of coleslaw. Cover with the top bun. Repeat. Serve with french fries, if desired.

Notes: If you’re using a fish other than perch, cut the fillets to just larger than your slider bun. Thicker fish, like walleye or pickerel, will take a few minutes longer to fry. It’s better to have too much batter than not enough, so feel free to use the rest for more fish (some- times I’m able to use it for up to another pound of fish!).

The Lemon Apron Cookbook

Excerpted from The Lemon Apron Cookbook: Seasonal Recipes for the Curious Home Cook by Jennifer Emilson. Copyright © 2022Jeniffer Emilson.Cover and interior design by Lisa Jager. Cover and interior photography by Johann Headley. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Next: French Fries Fan? This Kitchen Gadget May Make Your Dreams Come True