Things in Batter

For anyone who has tried to fry things encased in batter and failed, it can be quite daunting. For one thing, there’s all that hot, bubbling fat. Up until a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t even stand within a 10 metre radius of boiling fat, lest it should irrationally spew itself all over my delicate skin.
Of course, whilst fat does spit a little, notably when you drop things in it, if you’re careful and sensible, there should be no house fires, no third degree burns and certainly no horrible fried food.
And, unlike buying from the local chippy, you can control what goes in your batter, how long you cook it for and the cleanliness of the oil.
We all know that fried food is almost as bad for you as dating an unrehabilitated serial killer but damn! it does taste good. There is nothing in the world so good as biting through crisp batter (drained thoroughly and not soggy) into white, flaky, creamy fish. And the best batter of all? Beer Batter.
Beer Batter is like the Rolls Royce of the batter kingdom. Not light enough to coat delicately sliced vegetables tempura style, but not stodgy enough (and too expensive) for chip shops. It coats fish, onion rings, mushrooms and probably Mars Bars, beautifully. There is no pappy underbelly and it provides a wonderful coat of armour for whatever you choose to dip in it, protecting your food from the intense heat, ensuring that it remains piping hot and steamy, rather than dried out and yukky.
And once you start using batter, you may never stop finding things to try. We restrained ourselves at mushrooms but we gave serious consideration to bananas and then various chocolate bars. Thankfully, we didn’t have many lying around. We had planned on serving our battered fish in the traditional style, which is to say, with chips. However, the potatoes can fry up a little too sweet at this time of the year so we parboiled some new potatoes then fried them up. Paul made a fourth attempt at making some mayonnaise which was partially successful and we served the whole thing on a bed of bitter leaves.
Another consideration would be Cider Batter, a perfect medieval coating for perhaps Elderflower blooms or Courgette Flowers or slices of Apples.
Finally, there’s the matter of whose going to drink the leftover beer…
BEER BATTERED HADDOCK (or cod) serves 2
Ingredients:
2 x 150g Haddock or Cod, skinless, cut at the thick end of the fillet
150g Self-Raising Flour
100ml Lager, chilled
Salt and Pepper
Oil for Deep Frying
METHOD:
Preheat your frying oil, either in a deep fat fryer or a large saucepan to about 160c. You want the fish to fry gently not ferociously in the fat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, some seasoning and the beer. It should be the texture of thick double cream to ensure a good coating. Add more beer if necessary, more flour if too thin.
Season the fish on both sides, then lightly dust with flour. This will help the batter adhere to the fish.
You may need to fry the fish in batches so dip one piece at a time, making sure it is completely coated before gently plunging into the hot oil. It will fizzle as the batter starts to bubble up and then gradually turn a beautiful golden brown.
If you are cooking in a saucepan, you may need to turn the fish over using tongs as it tends to bob up to the surface.
Fry the fish for between 5-6 minutes.
Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the potato based dish of your choice, preferably chips.
Enjoy!

37 comments:

ostwestwind said...

That sounds great! Today it's so hot, I served ice cream for lunch ;-). I had a water consumption of 500 ml per kilometer by bicycle. It's the hottest day today, the kitchen stays cold

Deborah said...

Yummm, fried food....I actually tried my first beer batter when I made some fish for fish tacos, and it was amazing!! My husband said that you couldn't get any better than the beer batter. Your fish looks perfect!

Baking Soda said...

Yummy! I love fish in batter, onion rings, tempura, our Dutch croquets..oh and bananas!

katiez said...

The restaurant I worked in when I was in high school in Wisconsin always made beer batter for the fish and it was fantastic. Usually we kept a 'pony' (Paul knows) in the kitchen but when that ran out we had to get pitchers of beer from the bar. One particularly hot summer night, after about the 6th pitcher, the bartender wanted to know which of us was named 'batter'! (The beer was free for 'batter' we had to pay to drink)

Lydia said...

Batter-fried fish is a real indulgence these days -- how can you not love it?! Fish and chips is a popular clam shack dish here in Rhode Island in the summer.

kellypea said...

Beer Battered Haddock sounds lovely. I've had run ins with making onion rings in batter. They're so delicious, but I wreck all my shirts since I never wear an apron.

Cynthia said...

I like the new look around here.

Oh yeah batter-frying is always a bitch but the taste!

Meeta said...

I was missing the vinegar. It's what I love having when I visit London. Fish n chips with salt and vinegar. Sounds clicheed but I do not care. It's a taste one needs to develop. I really like the beer batter here and also your suggestion of cider batter. Need to give that a go!

Patricia Scarpin said...

I absolute love fish made this way, Freya!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Very nice. Cider batter sounds good. I used to love bananas cooked in batter served with syrup and ice cream in our local chinese restaurant when I was growing up.

wheresmymind said...

My parents ruined my on Had-DOCK! Damn chockin' little bones!!

Kelly-Jane said...

How crispy and golden does that look? I've not done much deep frying, but this looks so good...

Anonymous said...

This post made my mouth water & also reminded me of all those afternoons I spent with my grandmother, chowing down on fried fish at Seaport Village. Fried fish is so delicious! Non fish lovers don't know what they're missing. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

tigerfish said...

Things in batter, taste better...most of the times :D

Elle said...

That is a drool worthy photo of the fish. Would love some right now. Yum.

Kristen said...

Mmmm....I love homemade fried food, but never make it because of the smell it leaves in the house for days afterwards. I can't stand it.
Your fish may make me change my mind though. That looks fantastic!

Aimée said...

Great job, Freya. Battered fish is always something I'll order in a restaurant, but balk to try at home. But you are very convincing!

Gemma said...

This looks fab. I am scared of deep frying and happy to stay that way, I decided a while ago that conquering the fear would start a slippery slope to ruin!

Gemma x

joey said...

I am at that point where I'm slowly getting over my fear of deep frying so this is perfect!

Passionate Eater said...

Wow, that earlier comment was quite extensive... Um, but getting back to the purpose of my comment, I just wanted to say that I love your comparison of fried food to dating an unrehabilitated serial killer! However, although fried food doesn't tell you that your butt is saggy, fried food makes it saggy. :(

Wendy said...

Wow. Tiramasu on your last post and deep fried haddock on this post. It's like my own personal heaven!

Inland Empire Girl said...

I just discovered your blog and am looking forward to checking out the recipes. Nice layout and beautiful pictures.

Truffle said...

This post makes me keen to overcome my fear of frying! Lovely photos.

Joe said...

Since we're moving back to Minnesota soon, I wonder if this would hold up well using Walleye instead?

Meghan said...

i love haddock in batter! this looks great!

Veron said...

hey freya I used to be scared of frying too...okay I still think twice ...but after I started using a thermometer to measure the temperature..the first thing I made was beer batter tempura and beignets (though not on the same day). Your haddock looks so temptingly moist!

Deborah Dowd said...

Your fish looks totally delectable! There is nothing better than perfectly done batter-fried fish!

Sandi @ the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Looks yummy!
We have been known to fry just about everything... Green tomatoes, chicken, and pickles.

T.W. Barritt said...

The fish looks delicious - batter with beer can't be beat!

Poonam said...

Anything fried is so good!!! Yum

Monkey Wrangler said...

Psst! Hey Freya.

Psst, Paul!

It's me.

Dylan.

Way, way, way down here. At the end of your real-long indicating much popularity of comments-section.









Do you get down this far these days?


Anyway, I've got cold beer about. Fish just a bike ride away and a hankerin' for frying something, so thanks for the ideas. Finally, a beer battered fish recipe from an authority.

Later taters!

Karen said...

Cod is so overlooked, but just delicious. Flaky and sweet - perfect for the deep fryer!

lululu said...

yummm....the only fish i eat would probably fried fish. I would totally ignore the fat and calories!!!!!

kellypea said...

Goodness this looks delicious. It reminds me of the fish we had in Wales when we visited last summer. Scrumptious!

kellypea said...

How hilarious. I'm going back through the comments and see that I've already commented on this one. I must be starving!

JANET said...

Beer batter is good with catfish too and hush puppies! There are no lighter hush puppies than those made with beer batter.

codhead said...

Beer batter is the best!

I fish regularly and catch cod & pollack, my favourite way to eat it is beer-battered and deep fried, served with chips (just google 'perfect chips'). I can't offer a definitive recipe for my batter because all of my cooking depends on the amount of time it takes me to roll and smoke a cigarette, or drink a can of beer (yes, I'm seriously thinking of producing a book "Healthy Cooking for Slobs"). We waste virtually nothing, I was fishing on Thursday and came home with 1 pollack (8lbs), 3 cod (1 x 18lbs + 2 x 10lbs) and one bass (5lbs). The bass was eaten on Friday night, cooked simply with lime and chillies, in a paper parcel. The cod & pollack were filleted yesterday (cod should be left for 24 hours in the fridge to allow the meat to firm up) and the heads were then roasted in the oven. It's surprising just how much meat is available on a cod's head. This meat was recovered, mixed with fresh sage, fresh breadcrumbs and an egg yolk. I then formed it into patties. Once dusted in flour and then shallow-fried on each side, you'll have the best fishcakes that you could imagine.