I rarely cook fish at home. I love to order it in restaurants, but I never feel I can do it justice at home. And I almost never deep fry at home. I don't like the mess and smell and danger, so I avoid it for the most part.
So what am I doing deep frying fish in my kitchen?
I can tell you it was worth it!
We had some wonderful beer-battered cod at Milos' Craft Beer Emporium this week that made me remember how much I love fresh fish when it's done well. Then I saw some lovely haddock on sale at my local market so I decided to give it a try.
Frying both the fish and the chips was a little too ambitious for me. The fish and fries cook at different temperatures, so I'd need two pots of oil. Instead, I used this smitten kitchen recipe for oven fries.
The secret to these fries is boiling the potatoes first, then finishing them in a hot oven.
Here's what you need for the fish.
4 cups cooking oil (peanut, canola or grapeseed)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 cup beer
400 grams white fish such as haddock or cod
lemon for serving
In a large dutch oven, heat the oil to 350 degrees. Use a candy/deep fry thermometer to keep the temperature stable.
Mix the flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper and paprika together in a bowl. Remove 1/3 cup to a plate. Whisk the beer into the remaining flour mixture until just combined into a thick batter.
Dredge the fish in the flour mixture on the plate, shaking off the excess, then dip the fish in the batter, coating it completely.
Let the batter drip off the fish before gently placing it in the hot oil. Quickly move the fish around with tongs so it doesn't stick to the pot. Repeat with the next piece of fish. Don't crowd the pan.
Keeping the oil at 350 degrees, cook the fish, turning frequently, for about 8 minutes until it's golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oil with tongs and drain on paper towels.
Return the oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining fish if necessary.
Serve the fish with oven fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce. And beer!
This fresh, hot, crispy fish is worth the clean-up. Strain and save the oil for another use. And if your kitchen smells greasy, put a bowl of white vinegar near the stove overnight and it should freshen things right up!