Monday, January 11, 2010
After that incredibly awful, embarrassing performance by the Patriots, Ryan and I felt that it was very important to remind ourselves of the good things about New England (since it sure as heck isn't their football team). Fried fish went a long way towards repairing the damage. In fact, when the first few pieces came out all golden and crispy, Ryan may have started to drool a bit. And when it became clear that we had an excess of beer batter, he became a bit overeager, searching the kitchen for anything else we could possibly fry. His suggestions ranged from the possibly delicious (the shrimp I need for tonight's pasta) to the ridiculous and possibly awful (dates, wheat bread, the batter by itself). Anyway. That first bite of sweet, flaky fish and it was like being back on the Cape in summer. Baseball season's gotta be better, right?
CRISPY BEER BATTERED HADDOCK
an oil thermometer is highly recommended for this recipe
from Epicurious adjusted to have the right amount of batter for 1lb of fish
1 lb fresh fish - I love haddock because it's thick and sweet and flaky. Cod will work well too, but it's a much thinner fish. Cod is best for those of you who like batter better than you like the fish.
1.5 C flour
9 oz beer (preferably ale) and yeah that's not a whole bottle, so go ahead and drink some while you cook.
salt and pepper
oil (veggie, canola) I use about 2" worth in my Dutch oven, I don't measure by cups, I measure by depth.
Clean your fish, remove the skin if you prefer and remove any pin bones (run your hands down the center of the fish, anything poky-uppy is probably a pin bone, they are easiest to remove with a strong set of tweezers).
Get your oil set up in your deep heavy pot. Put the thermometer in, and you want the oil temp to be 375 F. Turn on your oven to low (maybe around 200? F). Prepare a plate with paper towels for draining your fish on, and a raised rack on a cookie sheet for keeping the fish warm in the oven.
Salt and pepper your fish, then dredge in 1/2 C flour, shaking off the excess.
Put the rest of the flour in a large bowl then add the beer slowly, while whisking. It can be a bit tricky, but make sure it's all the same consistency.
When your oil is ready, use a pair of tongs. Dip your fish in the beer batter (you may want to sort of drop it in and pick up again to get it coated and then gently place in the (HOT 375 F) oil. Work in batches, depending on the size of your pan - mine fit about 2 pieces of fish at a time. You want to fry it for 4-5 minutes total. I would do about 2 minutes on one side, then turn. It should be nice and golden brown. After 5 minutes, use the tongs to remove the fish and set it on the paper towels. Get the next two pieces in the oil, then you can transfer the fish to the rack on the pan in the oven to keep warm. Keep working until all your fish is fried. Serve with tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.
Notes on working with oil - Oil is freaking hot. Wear long sleeves. Use tongs. Monitor the temperature, it will drop when you add the fish, so try to keep it as steady as you can, as close to 375 as you can. No it won't ruin the fish if it goes all the way down to 330 or up to 380, just watch it, okay? When you're done with the oil, let it cool completely, pour it off into a container and put it in the trash. Oil does NOT go down the sink.