Lake Geneva perch are the Swiss fish par excellence. They are available throughout Switzerland, especially in lakeshore communities where local fishermen net them fresh every day. The preparation is simple – the butter, lemon and parsley accent the sweetness of the perch without masking it.  You’ll need about 8 or 10 small fillets per serving, so I’m giving you a recipe for only two portions.  If you can’t find perch, substitute trout – the taste won’t be the same, but it will be delicious nonetheless. 

Makes 2 servings

16 to 20 small perch fillets

1 cup flour seasoned with a teaspoon each salt and pepper, for coating the fish

2 tablespoons unsalted butter for cooking the fish

3 tablespoons mild olive or vegetable oil


4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup strained lemon juice

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

One 12-inch non-stick sauté pan or skillet

  1. Immediately before cooking the perch, flour the fillets on both sides, shaking off the excess flour.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in the sauté pan on medium heat. When the butter foam begins to subside, slip in the perch fillets, flesh side down. Cook for 2 minutes, gently shaking the pan to prevent sticking.
  3. Turn the fillets over using a spatula and cook another minute on each side. Turn one of the filets over and check to see that it is tender and not rubbery-raw by pressing with a fingertip. Cook a minute longer if necessary, then transfer the fillets, skin side down, to two heated plates.
  4. Discard the cooking fat and add the butter for the sauce to the pan. Allow the butter to foam up and heat, then add the lemon juice, swirling the pan and allowing the lemon juice to evaporate slightly for a few seconds. Swirl in the parsley and immediately pour over the fillets on the plates.