PETER VOK STYLE FRIED FISH

Czech name: Smažený kapr dle Petra Voka

Written by Tomas Dana

This dish originates in South Bohemia, which is renowned for its extensive network of ponds and abundance of fish, mainly carp. The dish itself was named in homage to Peter Vok of Rosenberg, a popular local lord from the 16th-17th centuries, who is remembered as an exemplary cavalier and generous benefactor. As such, it is mostly served during various auspicious occasions throughout the year. While carp is traditionally used in Czech Republic, any other type of fish, such as catfish, perch, grouper, or cod, can be used in the U.S.

For more information about the South Bohemian Region, from which this recipe comes, click here.

Ingredients

2 lbs fish (carp, catfish, perch, grouper, cod)
1/3 cup cubed smoked bacon
1-2 Tbs frying oil
2-4 garlic cloves
ground black pepper and salt to taste
ground paprika for coating
all-purpose flour for coating

Instructions

Depending on the size of the fish, you might choose to cut it into portion-sized pieces. Put at least two cuts into each piece, with the depth of each cut about half the thickness of the fish. Pulverize the garlic and mix it with salt and pepper. Smear the mixture all over the fish and into the cuts. Cut the bacon into thin strips. Put one end of the bacon strip into the cut and use the rest to wrap around the fish. Note that you do not need to wrap the whole fish with bacon. Mix all-purpose flour with paprika and coat the bacon-wrapped fish in it.
Heat a frying pan with frying oil. Slowly fry the fish for 3-5 min. Warm the oven to about 300F and then slowly roast the fish for 3-5 min.The fish is most commonly served with boiled or baked potatoes and steamed vegetables.

Tips & Notes
If you do not want to wrap the fish in bacon, you can fry the bacon separately, adding it to the fish when serving. Another option is to add the bacon prior to roasting the fish in the oven. After smearing the fish with the garlic mixture, you can let it marinate in the fridge for a couple hours or even overnight, so that the spices have more time to properly permeate the fish. You can add water into the mixture of all-purpose flour and paprika, so that it sticks better to the fish. Be careful with frying oil especially when using cod and other fattier species of fish. In these cases frying oil might not be needed at all. It is also possible to use butter for frying. The times for frying and roasting depend on the type of fish and the thickness of the pieces. The important thing is to fry and roast slowly so that the paprika and garlic do not turn bitter.