Before I tried deep frying at home it was a bit intimidating. I’d had no problem when I used industrial fryers in commercial kitchens, but somehow they seemed far more safe. At home all I could imagine was dropping a batter-laden piece of fish into the bubbly vat of oil only to have it spatter up onto my hands, face, eyes… yikes.
Thankfully that has never happened and I enjoy the process of deep frying just as much as eating it. A lot of people use dutch ovens to fry but I’ve had great results with a large stainless steel stockpot. I like the high walls, which does help diminish spattering and the temperature never gets away from me.
I made haddock today but any white fish that isn’t too delicate would be just fine.
- about 1-1/2 pounds haddock, cod or halibut fillets
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon each s&p
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon allspice
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 bottle of beer
- 1 egg
- a few dashes Tabasco sauce
- about 3 quarts peanut oil
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, s&p and allspice; continue whisking and add the buttermilk, beer, Tabasco and egg; set aside to allow flavors to meld
- In a large stockpot fixed with a thermometer, pour in the peanut oil until it’s 3 or 4 inches deep; with heat on highest setting, heat oil to 365F
- Cut fillets into about 4-ounce portions; pat dry with a paper towel
- Going in batches of two or three at a time, coat fillets in the batter then allow excess to drip off; slowly add each fillet to oil by dipping an end into the oil, waiting a few seconds, then gently laying the fillet down
- Keep an eye on temperature, regulating flame up or down as needed
- After about 3 minutes, when the fish is a deep golden brown, they’re ready to come out
- Use a spider or skimmer to gently lift fillets out of oil and onto a rack with paper towel beneath; don’t set directly on a flat surface or the underside will get mushy
- Continue this process in batches, keeping oil temperature constant and placing completed fillets in a warm oven if desired
At this point you could fry up some potato wedges or, if there’s leftover batter, some onion rings.
I reuse frying oil a few times before discarding by straining it through a fine sieve then transferring to a bottle that’s labeled with the date and how many times used.
For the beer I went with a dark lager; a rich pale ale works good, too. There was a Guinness in the back of the fridge but I decided that would be nicer in a glass…
Whip up a quick bowl of tartar sauce by combining mayonnaise with sweet pickle relish and you’re all set!