Perch California

There are a lot of terms used in cooking that specify certain ingredients. If something is florentine, it uses spinach. If it is provenšal , it uses tomatoes and garlic and oscar in cooking means mushrooms. Today's recipe uses Michigan's bountiful fresh water perch, but by calling it Perch California, we will be adding wine and artichokes to the ingredients.

Those diehard ice fishermen will sit out on Lake St. Clair until the last minute.... or until the Coast Guard picks them up. This is for the last batch of fresh caught perch, something special to cook up for the wife. She'll think you went to culinary school for this dish. For two people, you'll need:

1 cup                flour
1 TB                 paprika
1 lb.                fresh perch fillets
1/4 cup              oil
1 cup                sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup              Chardonnay wine
6 pieces             artichoke hearts
1 ea.                tomato
1 ea.                lemon
1 cup                soft butter
1 TB                 chopped parsley
to taste             salt and pepper

Mix the flour and paprika together. Pat the perch dry and dredge in the flour. Pour the oil into a sautÚ pan and heat it up until hot. Add the perch meat side down first. Cook until light brown.

Flip the perch. Cook two more minutes then remove from pan. Add your mushrooms and saute one minute, then drain all oil. Add your wine, artichokes and tomatoes. Remove the pan from the heat. Squeeze the lemon over the artichokes and add your butter and parsley. It is not necessary to return the pan back to the stove. The heat from the pan and the mixture will melt the butter, but keep stirring.

It is important here to use butter, because when butter melts, the whey in it makes a nice cream sauce. Margarine contains no whey and melts back to greasy oil. Correct your seasonings by adding salt and pepper to taste then pour over the perch.

Serve the same wine that you opened to use in this recipe. Try California's Seghesio Chardonnay. I discovered this delightful wine down at our own DIA. It's lighter and not as heavy or oaky as most Chardonnays. And as always, a good cook appreciates nature and what it has to offer.