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perch

Any of various spiny-finned freshwater fish found in North America and Europe. In the United States the best known is the yellow perch, found mainly in the East and Midwest. In France, the common or river perch is highly favored. These similar-looking fish have olive-green backs blending to yellow on the sides, dark vertical bands and reddish-orange fins. They have a mild, delicate flavor and firm flesh with a low fat content. Related to the true perch are the pike perch (so called because their bodies resemble the pike), the best known of which are the walleyed pike and the sauger or sand pike. There are several saltwater fish that are incorrectly called perch including the white perch (really a member of the bass family) and the ocean perch (a member of the rockfish family). Perch range in size from ½ to 3 pounds. They're available fresh and frozen, whole and filleted. Small perch are usually best broiled or sautéed. Larger ones can be prepared in a variety of ways including poaching, steaming, baking and in soups and stews. See also fish.