Food Swings: Fish Fry
By Jacob Mathias
Hello, fellow eaters. The fish fry is Friday night staple and symbol of Central Wisconsin that often goes unattempted in the home kitchen. Whether this is due to inconvenience, fear or a lack of equipment, I’m here to tell you it can be done quickly and easily in your home kitchen.
Fried fish is one of my favorite foods and I don’t relegate it to just Friday. If I want fried fish on a Tuesday, you can bet I’m having fried fish. And as long as you have a good heavy pot with some quality oil, you can too.
When frying fish, it’s important to choose a fish that’s affordable, solid and tasty. There’s no point in deep frying halibut as it will loose all its flavor and texture. Just like restaurants, I usually fry cod or haddock. It’s cheap, readily available and can handle the rigors of deep frying.
The batter can also make or break your dish. If it’s too thin, it’s going to run off the fish and you’ll have crusty oil fish. If it’s too thick, it won’t cook through all the way and you’ll have raw fish. You’ll want the batter thick enough that if you dip a spoon in, it sticks to the spoon, but not so thick that the spoon can stand up on end if you let go of it.
Always use canola or peanut oil when frying. These have a high smoke temp so it won’t burn your fish easily and will get hot enough to create a golden brown, crispy batter.
You will need:
2 quarts canola oil
4 4-5 ounce haddock or cod fillets
1 cup beer (I use Blue Moon)
1 cup plus 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. baking soda
Salt and pepper
Heat your oil over almost high heat in an extremely clean, heavy, deep 5 quart sauce pan until it reaches a temperature of about 350 degrees.
In a bowl combine the egg, beer, 1 cup flour, pepper, seasoned salt and baking soda and whisk until smooth. If the batter seems to thick or thin, add a little more beer or four. In another bowl combine the remaining 1/2 cup flour and season with salt and pepper.
Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towel and then coat with the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the floured fish into the batter and coat on all sides. Pull fish from batter and allow excess batter to drain off.
Carefully and very slowly place the fish into the batter. Fry the fish for about 5 minutes, until batter is golden brown. If fish surfaces, flip over half way through cooking time for even cooking on the batter.
Don’t cook more than two pieces of fish at the same time or the oil will cool and the batter and fish will become greasy and mushy.
Remove the fish and set on a drain rack or paper towels to catch any excess oil.
Serve the fish on its own with tartar sauce or as a sandwich. An ice cold beer is always a good pair as well.
And remember, Live to Eat!