How to make beer-battered fish

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How to make beer-battered fish
Make Beer-Battered Fish (Getty Thinkstock)

Batter-fried fish is one of life's great treats, but somewhat challenging to make at home. The recipe itself is simple; the difficult part is managing splattering hot oil and the smell of frying fish inside your home. Still, deep-frying is surprisingly easy to do on the outdoor grill.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Metal tongs
  • 2 litres (2 quarts) vegetable oils
  • 450 g (1 pound) fish fillets
  • 1 360 ml (12-ounce) bottle beer
  • 130 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour

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  1. 1

    Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.

  2. 2

    Whisk in the beer until the mixture is thick and creamy. You won't need all the beer, so you can drink the rest of it.

  3. 3

    Prepare your fish fillets by picking them over for any remaining bones or skin. Cut them into small pieces no thicker than 2cm (3/4 inch) and no longer than 15cm (6 inches) or so.

  4. 4

    Pat them very dry with paper towels. This will reduce splattering.

  5. 5

    Heat at least 5cm (2 inches) - but preferably 10 to 12cm (4 or 5 inches) - of oil in a large sturdy pot to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F).

  6. 6

    Dust the fish lightly in some extra flour and shake off the excess. This helps the batter adhere to the fish and reduces splattering.

  7. 7

    Dredge the fillet pieces one at a time in the batter, letting excess batter drip off.

  8. 8

    Slowly submerge the pieces in the oil. This is a tricky process. If you drop in the battered fish too fast, sometimes the batter doesn't have time to seal and it sticks to the pan. Use metal tongs to submerge them slowly, or let them slide off a spatula.

  9. 9

    Fry the fillets two or three at a time; it's important not to crowd the pan.

  10. 10

    When the fish turns golden, remove the fillets and drain well on a generous amount of clean paper towels.

Tips and warnings

  • You can fry just about any white-fleshed fish in this manner. Cod is the perennial favourite, as is the group of fish that pass for cod in many markets (such as tomcod and pollack). Halibut, snapper, whiting, flounder and catfish also fry well. Darker-fleshed fish such as salmon can be fried, but their oily flesh is better suited to other cooking methods.
  • For a heavier batter, beat an egg in along with the beer.
  • Try cooking this dish outdoors on a grill whose heat can be regulated. The smell of frying food won't permeate your home, and the splattering oil is less of an issue. Be very careful not to move the pot once the oil has been heated, though.
  • Always be careful when working with hot oil. Work in slow, careful, deliberate motions and don't let anyone distract you.
  • Never move the oil until it is completely cool.

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