With an extensive range of seaports and wide-spread inland farms throughout New England, it is not surprising that this region of America is well known for its seafood and dairy.
New England states rely heavily on their fishing industry. In Massachusetts, haddock, clams, cranberries and cod are very popular. This beer battered fried fish recipe is an up-to-date version of an Old England favorite of mine, beer battered fish. Honoring not only the people who have fried it so well before, but for the states of New England that share their fresh seafood with the rest of the country.
I used cod in this recipe as it is one of the more inexpensive in my area. However, I have also used Haddock, which would be my first choice, sole and red snapper (rock fish). They are all firm white fish and fry well, turning out wonderfully flaky.
2 cups all-purpose flour (plain flour)
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tbsp. Sweet paprika
2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 jumbo eggs (or 3 large eggs), beaten
1 - 12 oz. Fosters or Heineken beer (or your favorite lager beer)
2 lbs. fresh haddock or cod fish filets, skinned, de-boned and portioned
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for dredging)
1. In a large bowl, gently whisk together the first 7 ingredients.
2. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the beaten eggs all at once. Stir with a fork in a circular motion, pulling the flour into the eggs a little at a time until almost incorporated. The mixture will look lumpy and tight, so now we add the beer! Stir well breaking up the lumpy bits with a whisk until well combined. It will look somewhat bubbly after adding the beer - this is a good thing! Let the batter rest 20 to 30 minutes while you prepare the oil and the fish.
3. Start bringing the oil up to temperature with a thermometer if using a deep frying pan or pot to at least 375 degrees F. The temperature is going to drop when you add your battered fish, so a high starting temperature is necessary. Rinse off the cod fish and pat really dry with paper towels. Keep the fish at room temperature while the batter is resting and the oil is heating.
4. When the oil is at temperature, dredge the fish in the flour and then into the batter, making sure it is coated on all sides (I use tongs), letting the excess batter drip off. Lower the battered fish slowly into the oil until the batter starts to bubble, then let it drop gently into the oil. Fry 2 to 3 small pieces of fish at a time until golden brown, approximately 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a 200 degree F. oven while you cook the remaining pieces.
Cook's Notes & Tips
Serve these crispy, delicious battered filets with lemon wedges, malt vinegar and/or salt and pepper. To be traditional, make your favorite fries if you wish. Or, maybe try them on a freshly baked roll with some fresh, crunchy coleslaw and creamy tartar sauce. Fantastic!