Poached Perch Roe with Aioli Crostini & Eggs - A Nice Breakfast Special
Updated: Feb 20
While dining on shad roe has long been a Virginia spring tradition, most anglers don’t save the roe from other species. That’s a big mistake!
For example, roe from yellow perch is delicately-flavored and can be beautifully prepared and served in a variety of ways, accenting a protein-filled breakfast or adding a touch of elegance to a brunch. Yellow perch are among the tastiest fish swimming. In Virginia, they can be found in some lakes, such as Moomaw, or in tidal rivers in the late winter as they move upriver to spawn. The Mattaponi and Chickahominy Rivers are among the more popular perch hotspots.
Although filleting the fish usually destroys the roe sac on a plump female yellow perch, the sac is removed easily when the fish are cleaned whole. Carefully open the perch along its belly. The yellow roe sac sometimes pops out but it may rupture with even the slightest pressure. Be careful with the knife and your fingers as you work to gently remove the sac intact.
We cooked roe from a few perch and served them with crostini made from French bread baguettes dressed with aioli. You can serve them just like this or add a couple fried or scrambled eggs and make a meal out of it.
You can also try this recipe with roe from white perch or even crappie.
Fresh roe from 3 or 4 yellow perch
2 tablespoons of butter
1 cup white wine – use whatever you enjoy
Rinse the roe sacs carefully in cold water. Use a toothpick or pin to make some tiny punctures in the sac to let steam escape. Eggs separated from the sac will tend to explode like little popcorn kernels if directly exposed to high heat. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add roe sacs and lightly brown on brown sides. The sacs will firm up when cooked properly. Then, add white wine, heat until the wine is starting to bubble, cover and poach for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool for a couple minutes.
Aioli and Crostini
½ cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons olive oil
2 or 3 finely minced garlic cloves (about 1 ½ teaspoons, depending on how garlicky you like it)
½ teaspoon finely minced sweet onion
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
A couple sprigs of fresh chives
1 French bread baguette
Crostini and Aioli Preparation
Mix all aioli ingredients thoroughly, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Slice the baguette on a sharp diagonal to about 3/8-inch thick. Toast the slices. Spread aioli generously atop the toasted crostini. Slice to roe sac and place over the aioli. Garnish with small pieces of chives.
If you’re having the roe with “regular” eggs, set aside some roe slices and try a mouthful of chicken egg and roe together.One or two roe sacs per person is sufficient. Serve with champagne or a Mimosa (mix of champagne and orange juice, often at a 2/1 ratio).