Saturday, February 17, 2007

Friday Fish Fry

Fish Fry's are popular all over the country, but the variety of fish does vary by region. My favorite fried fish is Alaskan Cod. Alaskan Cod is pretty easy to get in any region of the U.S. because it is often processed, and frozen at sea. You can't really tell the difference between frozen, or fresh Alaskan Cod because of the rapid processing, and flash freezing. F.A.S. is the anachronism you should be looking for with frozen Cod.

I find the frozen product to be very consistent in the Midwest. Sure we have it fresh here, but it is often a roll of the dice getting a cut of fish here that was caught within the last day, or two, that being the case, I prefer frozen FAS in the Midlands. Costco carries a very nice product.

Frozen fish needs to be handled differently then fresh fish, it needs to be refreshed. Refresh it by rinsing in cold water, and soaking it in buttermilk, cream, or beer batter 45 minutes before cooking. If you do this you will avoid rubbery, tasteless fish. Frozen fish is usually packed in a brine solution which preserves the fish, but leaches the oils, and moisture out of the fish. By soaking the fish in a dairy product you are able to replenish the fish with oil and moisture while leaching out the salt solution it was packed in.

Wisconsin is a big time fish fry state. It could be because the state is heavily Catholic, and even though the edict of fish on Friday's is long gone, except for during Lent, the tradition continues up there year round. They fry all kinds of fish up there, but Baby Perch is the favorite which would seem odd if you are from the West Coast where fresh water Pan Fish are not popular.

In the Midwest we often like to substitute fresh Walleye, Crappie, Baby Perch, Blue Gill's, or any other Pan Fish. They are all excellent, and they have little, or no mercury compared to a larger fish which is a concern in the Midwest.

Some like it breaded, some like it battered, or beer battered, here is the way I like it.

I make a simple beer batter... .

Light Beer
1 Cup Flour
Seasoning Salt to Taste
Garlic Powder to Taste
Black Pepper to Taste

If your fish is frozen soak it in the batter at least 45 minutes before frying. It makes a big difference, and refreshes the fish.

I then lay out a mixture of Japanese Panko Bread crumbs, Sesame Seeds, and drudge the beer battered filet's in the mixture, and put them in the fryer at 375 degree's.

1 cup Panko bread crumbs
Seasoning Salt to taste
Cayenne to taste.
Sesame Seeds

You cook the fish till it is golden brown, and floating, it only takes a couple of minutes, and then it is done. Serve with Cocktail, Tartar, or Remoulade Sauce.

What is Fish without the Chips?

I hand cut Russet's, or use a mandolin for a large crowd. I soak the potato's in a rinse of ice water to get the the starch off the potato's. Process usually take around a half hour. You Blanche the fries in oil heated to 325 degrees for 3 minutes, then set aside to cool. Before you fry the fish finish the fries at 375 degree's and keep warm in the oven at 225 degree's before serving.

Serve with Tartar, Cocktail, or Remoulade Sauce. Malt vinegar is another great drizzle to put on after the finish with a little Sea Salt. Cole Slaw is a traditional side, and Clam Chowder is a great starter.

Seattle is Fish and Chips central on the West Coast. The best stands, store, or chains are Skipper's, Ivar's, Spud, and Totem House. Duke's Chowder house is more upscale, and serves very good Fish and Chips. All the places have their various sized portions, and styles, but the recipe above I am sharing with you is the best of all.

If your are a sportsman in the Midwest you usually just egg wash your fish, and drudge it in a mixture of cracker meal, white flour, garlic, salt and pepper. The Shore Lunch is a big tradition among fisherman in the upper Midwest. Make sure to fry your fish in at least two inches of oil heated to 375 degree's.

I like the cracker crust too, and sometimes make it side by side with the Panko Beer Batter.

You need some Sauce to go with it

You need some great Tartar, or Cocktail Sauce to go with great Fish and Chips. Why buy it from the store when you can throw it together in a couple minutes with ingredients you usually have on hand anyway.

Tartar Sauce Recipe

6 Finely Chopped Dill Pickle
One Finely Chopped Onion
4 Oz Small Capers
1/1/2 Tbsp Horseradish
A sprinkle of Caper Juice
Fresh Lemon Juice
A couple of shakes Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
Dill Weed
Black Pepper
Sea Salt
Garlic Powder

Cocktail Sauce Recipe

1 bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
Horseradish to taste
8 Small Chopped Dill Pickle's
Finely Chopped Onion
2 oz Capers
Fresh Lemon Juice

Remoulade Sauce Recipe

1 cup mayonnaise
1 diced hard cooked Egg Yolk
1/4 cup chili sauce
4 tbsp. Creole mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Tabasco
1 1/2 tbsp. horseradish
2 tbsp. Vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 medium scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon capers, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped green olives
2 tablespoons minced celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

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