Taste of Home Field Editor Sue Stetzel shares the perfect Friday meal and some cold libations to jump-start your weekend.
Fish on Fridays has been a long-standing tradition in many neighborhoods all over the world and certainly in my family as long as I can remember. Beer batter was the only thing that made fish edible to me when I was younger, now of course I’m older (not that I admit that) and much more refined (stop laughing) and I’ll eat most fish any way you want to serve it.
A couple weeks ago my darling husband looked at me with those sweet blue eyes and professed that I was the best cook he’d ever met. You know what that means, right? Yup, you guessed it! He wanted something! Humph – the compliments always give him away.
What did he want you ask? He wanted me to make fish at home. Beer battered, deep-fried fish at home. The things we do for love, right? Needless to say, after a grumble (maybe two) I remembered that my last Simple and Delicious magazine had just the recipe I was looking for. After a quick fumble through the pantry I discovered I had everything I needed. I just love it when recipes call for simple ingredients!
Let’s face it – deep-frying is a messy business. It’s a rare occasion that I prepare a deep fried meal and don’t yell at least once as hot oil spatter jumps at me. But, I gotta tell ya – this was awesome! So good in fact that Lil Man had a piece for breakfast the next morning. I would not eat fish for breakfast but I suppose it’s better for him than sugar coated rice puffs, right?
So here are my tips. Don’t worry about the Creole seasoning, the world won’t end if you don’t have any and no one will know it was supposed to be there. Make your batter first, use whatever beer you have on hand (I prefer a nice summer ale) and let it set a little, give the yeast from the beer a chance to work a little magic. The batter calls for 1/3 cup be sure to drink the rest before it gets warm, warm beer is a cardinal sin. If all you have is salted crackers – use them, don’t buy something special. I crushed my crackers in my chopper, you can do the same thing with a zipper bag and a rolling pin, they don’t have to be tiny crumbs but you don’t want chunks either. This is meant to be simple, remember? No stress!
Cut your fish into manageable pieces to make it easy to handle. After you coat with flour, give it a spank – you don’t want extra flour on there that will keep your batter from sticking. So – flour, tap, batter, drip, crackers. Press those in a smidge so they stick and then carefully ease the fish down into the hot oil. I use my big wide kettle to deep fry in and a pair of tongs to man handle the fish. Fry it up on one side, flip it over & let it finish. I let it drain on a cooling rack set on a baking sheet and keep it warm in the oven until everything is done and we can eat. This reheats the next day in the oven really well so don’t be afraid to cook a little extra.
One last thing, YES your house will smell like a diner after dinner, but once the dishes are washed and you’ve disposed of the oil, no one will ever know and you will be so proud that you have made a restaurant quality fish fry at home! Trust me, this is a must try.
Get this recipe: Crispy Beer Battered Fish