Guess what someone gave us for Christmas. Fish! A whole quart bag full of Walleye filets! This can only mean one thing. It's time for a Fish Fry!
As simple and delightful as it sounds, there can be quite a bit of complexity involved. Up in this neck of the woods, people are on a constant quest to find "The Best Friday Night Fish Fry". One of the biggest reasons for this is because individual taste varies so greatly when it comes to fried fish. Some like it crunchy, some like it crispy, some like it pub style (smooth batter), some like beer battered, and some like a little bit of them all mixed together. We won't even get started on the "type of fish used" argument. So, when it came time to fry up our gracious Christmas present I initially was a bit stuck as to what type of batter to use. Trying to think smarter, not harder, I asked my wife what her preference would be. After going through the checklist, it was decided that something similar to a beer or pub style batter would be most approved of.
Now, I've made batters before. In general, the usually consist of Flour and a liquid of some sort along with a few seasonings. You will find recipes for them all over, some use eggs, some use baking soda and baking powder, some use beer, some use milk, this goes on and on. In the end, I always go with taste. Yes, I taste my experimental batters, even if they have raw eggs in them. I seriously can't figure out how people can just throw some ingredients together, cross their fingers, and hope for the best. Just doesn't make any sense to me. In this case, I headed into the kitchen with a couple of ideas and this is the batter recipe I came up with.
As a quick note: When digging through the cupboards, I came across a bag of Whole Wheat Flour. I don't use this very often but, want to do so for healthy sake. For this batter I used it and was very happy with the results. Also, this recipe worked for 6 whole walleye filets. Go less or more as would be needed.
Tom's magic pub batter:
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 Cup Corn Starch
1/2 Can of Light Beer
2 Tbs Cooking Oil (I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 Tbs Sugar
1 Tbs Kosher Salt
1 Tbs Rub/Seasoning blend (You can substitute 1/2 Tbs Seasoning Salt & 1/2 Tbs Black Pepper)
Milk You will need atleast 1 & 1/2 cups but need more to create desired consistency.
Start by combining all of the dry ingredients. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and stir in beer until well blended then dump this into the dry mixture. When you start mixing the wet and dry ingredients, add the oil and start pouring in the milk. The batter should become smooth with stirring. You know you are at the right consistency when the batter clings and coats your spoon or fork but will slowly drip off. Or as my oldest said, "till it's like snot!". Lovely imagery isn't it? But, the description is rather accurate. Here is what it looks like when all mixed.
Now that the batter is all mixed up, it's time to get everything else ready. When it comes to frying fish, I'm still a believer that Cast Iron is the only way to go. I got out my 14" cast iron pan, they are big fillets after all, and put an inch worth of canola oil into the pan. Now, there will be some that argue that the best fish is friend in bacon grease or rendered fat and, for the most part, they would be right! But, it definitely isn't the healthier option to go.
The pan was placed over Medium High heat. You really are shooting to get the oil up to 375 at the lowest. If you go less than that, your fish will get very oily. Next, we set up our battering station. This consists of the fish sitting drained in a bowl, followed by a flour dredging dish, and then the batter.
From this point, the process is pretty simple. With one hand you take the filet from the bowl, dredge it through the flour and then place in the batter. With the other hand you flip the filet in the batter to evenly coat it and then transfer to the frying pan. I apologize for not having pics of this process but, my hands were rather busy. The filets will begin bubbling away as soon as they hit the oil so be careful and use a grease screen if you have one.
Let the fish cook from 3-5 minutes before flipping depending on the thickness of the filets.
Once they are flipped, allow them to cook for another 2-3 minutes until they appear evenly golden brown. Repeat process until all filets are done.
Serve up with your favorite sides and condiments! This time for us it was some sweet potato fries and a veggie blend. I had mine with some "No Butz" BBQ Sauce.
Someone put in a request for tartar sauce. We didn't have any but, I wasn't about to let that stop me. So with a quick run through the kitchen I came up with a new tartar sauce recipe.
Butzed up Tartar Sauce:
6 Tbs Miracle whip
1 Tbs Pickle Relish
1 Tbs Basalmic Vinegar
2 Tbs BBQ Sauce (I prefer Hot, xtra hot, or "No Butz" flavors.)
Directions are simple: Mix it all together in a bowl. Great fresh but, the longer it sits the more everything blends.
This stuff is awesome! I managed to save some for myself to go along with leftover fish the next day at work.
These are two recipes I am glad to add to my collection and will highly recommend them to anyone!
Thanks for looking!