I made fish and chips, ages ago now, but have been so easy distracted by work, people, laundry, paperwork, and sleep, that I haven’t been able to get myself, my camera and my computer to have some focused alone time to be able to load, crop, and write these ideas and meals down.
I made fish’n’chips for Sunday, the Patriots were playing St Louis in London. See where I’m going…? Yeah, themed, if you will. Only slightly tacky. I had enough grolsch (I clearly need to find out how to spell this lager’s name, and so I used it to make my beer batter, because the other option was Sam Octoberfest, and that seemed, too heavy on flavor. I don’t like the ideas of themes, parties I’ve been to seem tacky and obnoxious, decorating and most chachkies too severe, it’s just too much for me, I felt like it was almost safe to cook in a theme, and had I not felt like I had to fully disclose why I chose to cook this… you’d never have known that I feared themes.
Grolsch, my friends. It’s a lager. It’s tasty. It makes a very good beer batter, doncha know. I had never made a beer batter, but I’d seem them a million times (on cooking shows, mostly) and had always wanted to try it. I saw this one while I was looking for the best way to make fish and chips, and decided it was what I was gonna do. My options for beer on hand, were either grolsch, or sam’s Octoberfest, very obvious choice there – I went with the lighter beer. I can only imagine that using the Octoberfest would’ve ruined my taste for it forever.
Beer Battered Fish
adapted from Paula Deen
makes enough batter to cover 1-1/2 lbs of fish with a lot left over
1 (12-ounce) bottle grolsch beer
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of fresh ground black pepper
teeny pinch of garlic or onion powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour (sifted) to dredge fish in
1 to 1-1/2 pounds cod fillets, skinned with bones removed, and fish cut diagonally into 1-inch-wide strips (5 to 6-inches long)
4 large baking potatoes (or 6 -8 small potatoes cut up into chip-sized slices), scrubbed and cut into steak fries (long strips)
In a Dutch oven, heat several inches of oil to 375 degrees F.
Fry potatoes until golden brown, roughly 10 minutes removing with a slotted spoon. Hold food in oven (heated to 210-225) to keep warm while cooking the fish.
For the fish, pour beer into a large bowl. Sift the 1-1/2 cups of flour in, whisk gently until it’s just combined. Stir in seasoning.
Pat the fish dry and season both sides of it with salt and pepper. Apparently I dredged at the wrong time. And oddly enough, I’ve just recognized it now as I write this down again. I dredged first then coated with beer batter…? Paula Dean says to batter THEN dredge. Hmmm. Some day when it’s warm enough to have the windows open while frying (because the smell of oil hangs so well in the air…) I’ll have to see what the difference is.
Gently put fish into the oil, so you don’t burn yourself, or make a huge mess. Fry the fish for about 5 minutes, until it’s a deep golden brown – turn it over frequently so it can cook evenly. Once cooked, transfer over to a paper towel on a baking sheet and keep it warm in the oven with your chips until you have finished the other batches of fish. Make sure your oil returns to 375F between each batch.
While you are waiting for the oil to return to your 375F, you can clean out the oil with your slotted spoon, so that the little drips don’t get all oddly caked onto the freshly battered pieces of fish as you drop them into the oil.
Serve fish with some chips, and some tartar sauce. But for the love of god, be a little better prepared than I was to make the sauce. I was only starting to think about it by the time all my food was good and cooked and almost plated. I then thought – damn, isn’t something missing here? What do you eat this stuff with? I made the most pathetic attempt to make tartar sauce without relish, or pickles, or pretty much any of the other fairly necessary ingredients. I also hate mayo, so I don’t really want to talk about how bad the sauce turned out. Let’s just say, there was plenty of ketchup used to make up for the lack of good dipping sauce. I shall spare myself the embarrassment and you the disgust and not post the ingredients for the tartar sauce. Just find one that works well, and maybe check the ingredients before leaving the grocery store…