Sunday, August 7, 2011

Deep Fried Fish from America's Test Kitchen

Last night Katie made quick work of the thirty-plus pound striped bass that her husband Bill caught the night before, on a chartered fishing trip in the Atlantic off the coast of Long Island.  Bill drove home yesterday morning with the bass in a cooler.  The charter boat crew cleaned the fish, so Katie basically had to finish that job to her specifications and then cut the bass into serving-sized pieces.  She cooked it (and the "chips") in her big, blue Le Cruset dutch oven (which I covet).  I have to say, this was one delicious dinner.

Katie got the recipe from her America's Test Kitchen Cookbook.  I found this version of the recipe on-line.  It uses beer, but I think Katie's just used milk or water...  Anyway, you can trust every recipe from America's test kitchen because they do just that - they test the heck out of every recipe until they've got the most successful method to create a dish.  I love the PBS show Cooks Country with Christopher Kimball, a division of America's Test Kitchen. 

Here's the recipe and a few photos to s how you just how great a meal that striped bass provided.  It's work, all the way through, from catching the fish to preparing it, but worth it.  (Bill figured it was about a $150.00/serving after he paid for the charter, gas to and from CT, etc.!)  Well, it tasted like a million bucks, so I'd say we came out ahead!

Before -- Billy and his Bass!

Deep Fried Fish
from Fish 'N Chips from America's Test Kitchen

3 quarts peanut oil (or canola oil), plus 1/4 additional cup
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 pounds 1-inch-thick cod fillet (or other thick white fish, such as hake or haddock) cut into eight 3-ounce pieces  (OR fresh-caught striped sea bass!)
1 1/2 cups beer (12 ounces), cold (any beer except dark stouts or ales)

In heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, heat (medium-high) 3 quarts oil over medium heat to 375 degrees.

1st bowl:  Whisk flour, cornstarch, cayenne, paprika, pepper, and 2 teaspoons salt in large mixing bowl; Separate 3/4 cup of flour mixture to another bowl (2nd bowl). Thoroughly dry fish with paper towels and dredge each piece in flour mixture in 2nd bowl, shaking off excess flour.

Add baking powder to 1st bowl and whisk to combine. Then add 1 1/4 cups beer and stir until mixture is just combined (batter will be lumpy). Add remaining beer as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition, until batter falls from whisk in thin, steady stream.

Using tongs, dip 1 piece fish in batter and let excess run off, shaking gently. Place battered fish back onto baking sheet with flour mixture and turn to coat both sides. Repeat with remaining fish, keeping pieces in single layer on baking sheet.

When oil reaches 375 degrees, increase heat to high and add battered fish to oil with tongs, gently shaking off excess flour. Fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer fish to paper towel to drain. Allow oil to return to 375 degrees.

Photos:  Bill and Bass from his I-phone
Dinner:  me

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