Perch Fillets over Honeyed Parsnip Purée with Watercress Aioli

Perch Fillets over Honeyed Parsnip Purée with Watercress Aioli

These perch fillets over honeyed parsnip purée with watercress aioli take a fish normally relegated to the fry pile and make them gourmet!

This dish looks sufficiently impressive to serve at a dinner party but comes together quickly and easily enough that it also makes for a great weeknight meal. Parsnips and watercress can both be harvested in the wild, or purchased in well-stocked grocery stores.

  • Prep Time25 min
  • Cook Time20 min
  • Total Time45 min
  • YieldServes 4
  • Cuisine
  • Course
    • Main Course
  • Cooking Method
    • Pan frying
    • Boiling


  • 1.5lbs parsnips
  • Kosher salt
  • 2oz watercress, thick stems removed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 7 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons neutral oil (I use cold-pressed sunflower oil)
  • ½ cup cream or milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 8 perch fillets, skin on (scaled)



Peel parsnips and cut into rough 1” chunks. Add them to a pot with a pinch of salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender.


Meanwhile, finely mince the watercress and garlic. Add the egg yolk and vinegar to a mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Start adding the 7 tablespoons of oil in a very thin stream while constantly whisking (if you add too much at once, your emulsion will break). Keep whisking until you’ve added all of the oil. Stir in the minced watercress and garlic and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.


Drain the cooked parsnips and add them to a blender (or into a bowl and use a hand blender). Heat the milk or cream up in the same pot, then add it, the butter, and the honey to the parsnips. Purée until smooth.


Heat up the 2 tablespoons of oil in a stainless steel or cast iron pan over high heat. Season the fish fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. Add them skin-side down to the pan and press down on them with a spatula so they don’t curl. You may need to do this in 2 batches.


Sear for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for 30 seconds. Drain on paper towels.


To serve, spoon parsnip purée onto plates, top with 2 fish fillets, then spoon over the aioli. Enjoy!


Notice how I didn’t have you scroll through pages of mundane nonsense to get to the recipe? Notice that there were no annoying pop-ups or ads? That was on purpose!

I want finding and using my recipes to be easy for you, not frustrating. That does translate into a lot of lost income for me though. If you made this recipe and loved it, would you consider “buying me a coffee” and donating a buck or two through the Buy Me a Coffee app? It will help me keep pumping out recipes like this one!

Share this recipe:

You might also like: