hapankorppuleivitetyt ahvenfileet / surskorpsbröade abborrfileer
There was a time when "fish" to me meant something oven-baked. Seasoned, foil-wrapped baked fish is all very well and good, and above all healthy, but it's not, you know, very fun. Because fun = butter, I suppose.
I had some breaded teeny-tiny perch fillets at a restaurant in Tampere last month, and there was no mistaking the fact that they were made with lots of fun, er, butter. It seemed simple enough, and indeed my own attempts almost surpassed the restaurant's at the first try although, or possibly because, I couldn't find perch fillets as tiny as theirs. The breadcrumbs are made of sourdough thin crisps (hapankorppu/surskorpa), which may of course be a bit hard to find since they're a Finnish speciality, but I should think any sour rye bread would yield a similar result.
We had ours with Elise's Sesame Spinach and some chive-studded mashed potatoes. (I totally fail as a photographer for not noticing how utterly unbeguiling the lump of mash in the background was. Agh! Alas, there were no leftovers to rectify things with.) At the last minute I realized it could probably do with some kind of sauce, so I threw together various liquid-or-meltable dairy things and some garlic and chives.
Crispbread-crusted Perch Fillets
9 perch fillets à about 30 g each
salt & white pepper
1 tbsp milk
60 g thin crisps, crushed
2 tsp dried dill (or a bit more fresh, finely chopped)
butter for frying
Very Improvised Sauce
100 ml or so cream
3 tbsp crème fraîche
3 tbsp soft goat cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
some chopped chives
salt & pepper
Mix all the ingredients (except chives) for the sauce and bring to the boil. Simmer gently while you prepare the fish, then add the chives and taste off with salt and pepper just before serving.
Season the fish fillets lightly with salt and pepper.
Mix together egg and milk in a bowl and breadcrumbs and dill on a plate. Dredge the fish first in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs, making sure to coat both sides and dusting off excess crumbs.
Fry the fish in a medium-hot pan in a bit of butter - a very short time on each side is enough for fillets this size. (I'm hedging here because I didn't exactly time it. 45 seconds? 30? They were extremely thin!)