Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fish in Beer Batter with Tartar Sauce

(about 2 - 3 servings)

While shopping for fish, the heavily tattooed fellow standing next to me struck up a conversation.. I think he noticed I couldn't keep my eyes off his arms, lol.

He told me his English aunt's trick to a good beer batter was the addition of a bit of yeast. What he described was simple; combine flour and beer until you have a consistency between regular pancake batter and crepes, and to that add the yeast. He mentioned he likes to add salt and pepper to his batter (I added a bit of salt), but mostly I seasoned the fish itself  before dredging it in the flour. I was intrigued after this little discussion and although I had planned on broiling fish with tamarind, I decided to fry some instead. Cod and haddock were expensive, so I used sole.

The batter puffed up almost immediately when the fish hit the hot oil. It was on the light side and not at all heavy. I'm not sure what difference the yeast made because I rarely deep fry anything, but I liked the puffed and crispy coating I ended up with. I served the fish with lemon wedges and tartar sauce which I prefer to malt vinegar.

1 tbsp warm water
1/2 tsp dry yeast (I used the type for bread machines)
2/3 cup unbleached flour
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 cup beer, or a bit more

12 oz sole fillets
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup unbleached flour (for dredging)

oil, for deep frying

lemon wedges, for garnish

Combine the water and yeast and set aside for a few minutes until the yeast has dissolved.
Combine the salt and flour in a bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture and beer. Stir the batter until everything is mixed. If the batter seems too thick, then add a bit more beer. It should resemble a runny pancake batter.  Set aside for about 30 minutes or until the batter begins to look frothy.

Heat the oil to 350° F.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the fish, then dredge both sides in flour. Quickly dredge each side of the fish in the batter and carefully slide into the hot oil.

Fry the fish in small amounts so they have enough room around them, about 2-3 minutes on each side or until the batter is puffed and golden brown.

Drain the fish on a warmed platter covered with paper towels to absorb any excess oil, while you finish up with the rest of the fish.

Garnish with lemon slices and serve with the tartar sauce.

tartar sauce
2 medium dill pickles, chopped
2 tsp fresh dill, chopped
2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp shallot, finely chopped 
2 tsp capers, chopped
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2-3 tbsp mayonnaise ( just enough to bind everything)

Combine everything in a small bowl. You may add more mayonnaise if you like.. I add just enough until everything binds.


Sue/the view from great island said...

I can't wait to try this, I love fish and chips but I always thought I would need a deep fryer to do it. The use of yeast is so interesting...I always wondered how that batter puffed up so much. I want to try beer battered everything, now!

Gerlinde in Washington said...

The nice thing abut a deep fryer is you can set the temperature and then forget about it.

I used a deep skillet and a candy thermometer.. adjusting and maintaining the temperature was a bit tricky, but once I knew how high I needed to keep the flame, it was a breeze.

Simones Kitchen said...

How funny that you get a tip such as that from a guy that you probably did not expect that from in the first place.. :) I love things like that. The fish looks incredibly good too!

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