Three Keys to A Great Fish Fry

by | Mar 2023

Photo: Kowalski’s Markets

Long before my family became the fish fanatics they are today, the only fish I could get any of them to eat was Beer-Battered Cod. All fish lovers start somewhere! These days, I only fry fish at home once or twice a year. Even for me, the
process is a little overwhelming. Going in, I just have to accept that I’ll be able to smell the cooking oil for a day or so afterward, and I’ll have to deal with the unpleasantness of disposing properly of said oil. I’d argue these small inconveniences are totally worth it.

There are three keys to a great fish fry. First is a light, crispy coating. Don’t open your beer (or other bubbly liquid) until just before you use it to maximize the air bubbles in the batter. Second is temperature control (with a thermometer). Oil that’s too hot is likely to burn fried food; too cool and that same food will be greasy. Finally, there’s the choice of fish. I like the big flakes and clean taste of wild-caught Alaskan cod, but you can get equally good results with this recipe using other similarly textured white fish, such as catfish or tilapia.

Beer-Battered Cod

Serves 4

  • canola or peanut oil, for frying
  • 2 lbs. wild-caught Alaskan cod (or similar fish), cut into 10–12 evenly sized portions
  • 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground Kowalski’s black peppercorns (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. Kowalski’s smoked Spanish paprika
  • 2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 10 ½ oz. pale lager-style beer
  • sea salt, for finishing
  • lemon wedges and tartar sauce, for serving

Place a rack on a baking sheet; place in oven and heat to 170 degrees F. Meanwhile, in a deep pot, heat 2–3″ of oil to 375 degrees F over medium-high heat. Pat cod dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper, and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, garlic powder, paprika and seasoned salt; mix in egg, then slowly whisk in beer until batter is no longer lumpy. Working one piece at a time, dip fish into batter, then carefully place in hot oil; cook until fish is golden-brown (3–4 minutes). Carefully remove from oil and place on paper towels or a rack to drain; sprinkle with sea salt. Move each piece of fish to the preheated rack in the preheated oven as it is ready to keep them warm while frying the rest of the fish. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.

Rachael Perron is the culinary and branding director for Kowalski’s Markets, where she specializes in product development and selection, culinary education and communications.


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