Beer Battered Deep Fried Cod
Every now and then you just got to have something fried. As I've said in previous posts, it's hard to find really good deep fried fish and chips in these parts, and it had become a goal of mine to start making my own. One a month, this will be a guilty pleasure. I do not own a deep fryer (fry-o-later) but that doesn't stop me from being able to deep fry...as long as I am careful. This time I used a wok, but I was without a thermometer so that I could control the temperature. I'll have that for the next batch of fish fry goodness. When deep frying on the stove top, you have to be extremely careful because trouble can begin without a moments notice. You can not let the oil get too hot (hence the need for a thermometer) and you can not leave it unattended. Too many times in Newfoundland a house burns to the ground because of someone cooking a feed of chips and either not being careful enough or worse yet, try and do so after getting home with a few too many black horse in them. If you don't feel comfortable using the stove top, deep fry only with a deep fryer.
I like to think that I know a thing or two about deep fried cod. Besides having eaten my share over the years, I've also worked the fryer at a couple fish and chips places in St. John's back in college. My most notable experience was as fish cook at the famous Ches' Fish and Chips (http://www.chessfishandchips.ca/home.html). While I did not have a hand in making the batter from scratch at Ches', as they have their own secret and special blend you just add water too, I did learn alot about the proper thickness of the batter, cod portion preparation, cooking temperatures and times, etc. For the recipe below, I use a homemade beer batter that is light and thin, that frys up crispy and bubbly. For the cod, I used thick loin fillets and sliced them into roughly 3 0z portions.
For the batter, in a large mixing bowl combine with a whisk:
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper1 Tbsp baking powder
- 2 beaten egg yolks
and add gradually, whisking constantly
- 1 cup of light beer
Allow to rest in the fridge for an hour or two. Before using, add 2 egg whites beaten. This will make the batter nice and light. In order to get the right thickness, I dip my fingers in the batter and begin to count until I can see my fingers to through the batter as I let it drip off. You're looking for a two count to see your fingers begin to show through the batter. Anything longer will be too thick and produce unwanted dough around the fish. If you need to thin your batter, add a little more beer to get it right. This is enough batter to cook at least 2 pounds of fish.
In a large pot, or deep fryer heat 3-4 inches of vegetable oil to 375 degrees.
While oil is heating, portion the cod into 3-4 oz portions, season with a little salt in flour, and dredge in some flour. The flour is key in having the wet batter stick to the fish. Once the oil comes up to temperature begin cooking the fish. Don't over crowd the pot and cook the fish in batches. Once a piece is done, transfer to a wire rack, season with kosher salt and keep warm in a low oven. To "drop" your fish into the oil, submerge the floured portion in the batter, hold from one end and let the excess drip off, and slowly lay the fish in the hot oil. Hold it for a few seconds and slowly release it away from you. Keep an eye on it and turn it once one side becomes golden brown. Getting the fish cooked right is pretty easy for portions this size. Generally speaking, when it is well browned, it is done just right.
Served with some hand cut oven fries, and lots of fresh lemon juice, malt vinegar and salt and this was some of the best fish and chips I've had. It was most definitely the best I've had in this neck of the woods. Enjoy!
A Wicked Scoff...Recipes and Food with Newfoundland and New England Influences.
This blog is dedicated to bring recipes, photographs, anecdotes, reviews and other insights on everything food related. As the name suggests, "A Wicked Scoff" will have a regional flare, a fusion if you will, of both Newfoundland and New England perspectives of the culinary world around me. Thanks for visiting and please come back often as updates will be frequent. Oh yeah, I also like tasting and cooking with regional beers. Expect a beer of the month, often paired with recipes.