Foodie In Training

Monday, December 22, 2008

Warmer Days: New Sandusky Fish Company

So, the temperature has been in the single digits the last two days. It was 1 last night when I got home. The windchill was -25. Now, having grown up in Northern Ohio, I'm sure that I've been in colder weather, but I don't remember it. Driveways are covered in jagged, uneven ice, making every step to the car a potential sprained ankle and a concussion.

Yesterday was the first day of winter. I love the changing seasons. I won't ever live in a place with a year round 80 degree climate. But when its this cold, you need something to look forward to. I know Chirstmas is a few days away, but the busy shopping and the snow covered Christmas lights weren't doing it for me.

I was reading a baseball article about the Indians new closer, Kerry Wood. And the article mentioned in passing that in just 52 days pitchers and catchers report!!! That day in late February when pitchers and catchers begin gearing up for the coming baseball season is my signal that Spring is here.

It reminds me of a warmer time. A time when you could enjoy the outside. Walk along the Lake in Sandusky, and eat a perch sandwich.

Yellow Lake Erie Perch (which is what I mean by "perch" in this post- not to be confused with some crappy European "White Perch", or Perch from a different great lake, which is certainly not as good as from Lake Erie) is best in the late summer and throughout the fall. When I moved back to the north coast in September, it was perfect time for eating lots of tasty perch. Now, there isn't a lot of variety as to what people around here do with perch. They catch it. They clean it. They bread it. They fry it. That's it. Perch has a distinct flavor to it, and I'm not sure how it would play in other preparations. Yellow perch is meaty and a little different in texture than a boring flaky piece of white fish. It has a little bite of distinct flavor, not fishy, but definitely fresh. Perch fillets are probably too small to make an appetizing dinner in anything besides their fried "fish and chips" type form.

I've caught perch a few times out on the lake. If you are on a boat and with someone that knows where to go you can spend a couple hours and catch dozens of them on a given October day. Getting someone to clean them can be a challenge, but then you can have your own fish fry. Just dredge and pan fry in plenty of oil. I'll save the details for next summer, when I'm sure we'll have a fish fry.

For now, I want to focus on my favorite place to get fresh Lake Erie Yellow Perch in Sandusky: The New Sandusky Fish Company. This little shack right on the Sandusky Bay is the perfect place for a perch sandwich or to get fresh perch by the pound to make your own. The back of the shop is usually open and in the summer and fall months, you can often see the boat loads of perch being dropped off. There is the guy scaling and deboning the fish and then they are brought to the kitchen where they are battered and fried- fresh to order. I perfer mine with a little tartar sauce and some lemon juice. A little coleslaw or fries, and you have yourself a great little meal to sit and enjoy on a park bench as you enjoy the beatiful Sandusky Bay. Just mind the bees and the seagulls!

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