Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beer Battered Fish with Tartar Sauce

I am a sucker for a piece of moist, flaky fish coated in a crispy beer batter and dipped in cool creamy tartar sauce. But, I've always hesitated making it at home, as it involves "deep frying." Here's where I was wrong- you don't need a deep fryer to make this dish. All you need is a big pot (I love my Dutch oven) and enough oil to cover the fish, along with a simple thermometer. You simply coat the fish in flour, then in the beer batter, then back in the flour, and dunk it in the oil to fry until it's cooked through and moist on the inside, and crispy and flavorful on the outside. Served with lemon, tartar sauce, oven fries and cole slaw, this meal is a real crowd pleaser!

Beer Battered Fish
Crispy and flavorful, you don't have to go out to eat to enjoy this English staple!
Serves 4

3 quarts peanut oil (or canola oil), plus 1/4 additional cup
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 pounds 1-inch-thick cod fillet (or other thick white fish, such as hake or haddock) cut into eight 3-ounce pieces
1 1/2 cups beer (12 ounces), cold

Whisk flour, cornstarch, cayenne, paprika, pepper, and 2 teaspoons salt in large mixing bowl; transfer 3/4 cup of mixture to rimmed baking sheet. Add baking powder to bowl and whisk to combine.

In heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, heat 2 quarts oil over medium heat to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, thoroughly dry fish with paper towels and dredge each piece in flour mixture on baking sheet; transfer pieces to wire rack, shaking off excess flour. Add 1 1/4 cups beer to flour mixture in mixing bowl and stir until mixture is just combined (batter will be lumpy). Add remaining beer as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition, until batter falls from whisk in thin, steady stream and leaves faint trail across surface of batter. Using tongs, dip 1 piece fish in batter and let excess run off, shaking gently. Place battered fish back onto baking sheet with flour mixture and turn to coat both sides. Repeat with remaining fish, keeping pieces in single layer on baking sheet.

When oil reaches 375 degrees, increase heat to high and add battered fish to oil with tongs, gently shaking off excess flour. Fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer fish to paper towels to drain. Serve hot with lemon.

Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Tartar Sauce
The perfect compliment to crispy battered fish.
Makes 3/4 cup

1/2 cup good mayonnaise
2 tablespoons small-diced pickles or cornichons
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon coarse-grained mustard
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Place all the ingredients in a food processor or mini chopper fitted with a steel blade and pulse several times until the pickles are finely chopped and all the ingredients are well mixed but not pureed.

Recipe by Ina Garten

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