Grilled Perch with Mushroom Broth and Fiddlehead Ferns

As featured in the Taste of the Wild

Lake Fish – Modern Cooking With Freshwater Fish by Keane Amdahl

“Reprinted with permission from Lake Fish: Modern Cooking with Freshwater Fish by Keane Amdahl, published by Minnesota Historical Society Press.

This fun and delicious dish makes use of an often neglected ingredient: dried mushrooms.
Dried mushrooms can be fairly inexpensive, and a little goes a long way. The liquid made from rehydrating them is basically flavor gold, and harnessing it is one of the best favors you can do for yourself. Fiddlehead ferns are a delicious, hyper-seasonal springtime ingredient. If you don’t have a source to harvest them personally, you’ll find them at specialty stores, co-ops, or farmers markets. Their flavor is similar to asparagus, which is a worthy substitute.

Grilled Perch with Mushroom Broth and Fiddlehead Ferns

Serves 2–4


8 ounces fiddlehead ferns, or substitute asparagus

1 1/2 ounces dried mushrooms, preferably a wild mix


1 small shallot, finely minced

2 tablespoons finely minced celery

2 tablespoons finely minced carrot

vegetable oil

2–4 skin-on perch fillets per person

1 teaspoon red chile flakes


Add 2 cups water to a small or medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add in the fiddleheads and simmer for 5 minutes. Lift fiddleheads out with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel–lined plate. Remove pan from heat, stir in the mushrooms, and let them steep, covered, for about 10 minutes. Lift the mushrooms out with a slotted spoon. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter into a bowl to remove any grit; reserve the liquid.

Add 2 tablespoons butter to the saucepan and place it back over medium-high heat. After the butter has melted, add in shallots, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring, until the vegetables start to soften. Add in the mushrooms and their liquid and reduce heat to low, simmering until the stock reduces by at least half. Add in another tablespoon of butter, season with salt and pepper, and keep warm over low heat until needed.

Place a grill pan over high heat and grease with vegetable oil. Season the perch with salt and place the fillets skin side down on the pan. Cook until the fish is nearly done, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Remove from heat. Add the fiddlehead ferns to the grill pan, season with salt, and sprinkle on chile flakes. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side.

Portion the fish and fiddleheads onto serving plates, top with mushroom and vegetable mixture, and drizzle remaining broth over the fish.

About the chef:

Keane Amdahl’s new cookbook Lake Fish – Modern Cooking with Freshwater Fish taps the bounty of the Midwest’s abundant streams, lakes, and even inland seas, with recipes that inspire you to make the most of what’s at hand.  Keane is a food blogger who lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. Visit




Categories: Featured, Fish, Salads, Sides & Misc

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