The Euclid Fish Co. in Mentor is 76 years old this year, and there’s no better way to celebrate that incredible legacy than a Lenten fish fry. John C. Young, president, and a member of the fourth-generation family business, walks us through a buffet line of options.
Most cod found in Cleveland come from fisheries along the East Coast, which once teemed with so many that Cape Cod was named in their honor. Cuts from younger cod are sometimes called ‘scrod’ on fish fry menus, and offer big, generous flakes by the forkful. “If you bake it and you have to put it on a baking sheet, where people are going to come down the line at a fish fry, it holds up well,” says Young.
A smaller fish of the cod family, haddock also comes to Cleveland from Atlantic fisheries. Though still mild in flavor, it lands stronger on the tongue compared to other fish fry varieties with a tighter flake. “It has a very distinct flavor to it,” says Young. “A very sweet taste, not a fishy taste.”
A recent addition to many local fry menus, shrimp is a kid-friendly break from all the white fish, and is quickly gaining popularity as a pop-able perennial treat. Most available in the U.S. come from Asian shrimp farms. “Everybody likes shrimp. It’s versatile. It holds up well,” says Young. “There’s nothing better than eating a good piece of shrimp.”
A rarer find on a fish fry menu, these finned flappers are a favorite of sport fishermen and have a clean freshwater tang. They are only available commercially from fisheries across the Canadian border. “Walleye is traditionally baked or broiled this time of year,” says Young. “You could dust it up, and then lightly saute it as well.”
A catch that commercial fishermen pull from Lake Erie by the net-full, yellow perch is known for its local sourcing. Its subtle taste lends itself to the frying process. “It will carry a flavor based on what your specific wants might be,” says Young, “whether it’s a church or you taking it home and entertaining for a Friday night.”