I won’t lie. I like fried food. It’s one of those secret indulgences I have that’s, well, not a big secret. Overall, I really strive to eat healthy. I enjoy my daily dose of fruit and veggies. I don’t typically eat processed foods. I limit my bread and pasta intake. Yes, I have some food vices, but I keep them under control… for the most part. But if a plate of french fries happen to be within reach, so help me God, I have no control over myself. I always sneak a bite.
When I was a kid growing up in Houston, my parents took us out regularly for Gulf seafood dinners. Everything was fried to perfection: shrimp, oysters, fish, soft-shelled crab, potatoes… I had no qualms about diving into a platter of fried seafood. Head first. This was 30-some-odd years ago. No PSA’s guiding us through the tangled web of good nutrition.
Alas, adulthood arrived, whether I wanted it to or not, and I had to abandon my carefree fried ways. But every now and then, the cravings returned for those crispity crunchy creations.
Maybe it’s genetic? My Persian grandmother had a weakness for fish and chips. In the latter years of her life, she was living full time in the US. Persians don’t really batter and deep fry anything. Fish and chips were a real treat for her. So periodically, my mom or my uncle would take my grandmother out for a real fish and chip dinner to satisfy her own hankerings.
My husband and kids also love fish and chips. So when my hubby came home with a bag full of tilapia, he announced he would make us beer battered fish and chips.
I cringed. Deep frying is a mess, and deep frying fish stinks up the whole house. Hubby matter-of-factly explained that he would be doing all of the frying outside. He’s such an engineer.
The kids were impatient, but they helped with the cooking. Middle Child cut the potatoes. My Princess measured out the beer batter ingredients. The Professor sat outside and entertained my husband with his random musings. It was controlled chaos. I dashed between the kitchen and the backyard delivering the vital ingredients and overseeing the frying process – gently nudging and making suggestions to guide the two chefs.
My poor pup was also present and alert for any scraps he hoped would plunge to the ground, his domain. I guess he likes fried food, too.
We were all eager and giddy as we saw our serving platter piled high with our golden meal. I swatted some over zealous hands as they tried to sneak a piping hot fry in their mouths before everyone was at the table. The batter was perfection, crisp and light and not overly doughy or mushy. We ate as much as our stomachs would allow. Each of us sat back satisfied and a smiled with guilty pleasure.
Fish and Chips, a British favorite, was once considered a working class meal. But in our house, beer battered fish and chips is a family meal we can all agree on and indulge together.
I fried the fish and potatoes in extra virgin olive oil. Think that’s impossible or wrong? I smashed that myth because you CAN fry in extra virgin olive oil!
- 1 gallon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 TBS baking powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 12 oz beer
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 6 boneless tilapia fillets
- Heat oven to 200ºF.
- Heat olive oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven until it reaches 320ºF.
- Slice potatoes into even wedges, about 2-cm thick (with or without skin).
- Place in a large bowl covered with cold water and reserve.
- In a bowl, whisk together 1 ¾ flour, 1 TBS baking powder, 1 tsp kosher salt and spices.
- Whisk beer in until the batter is completely smooth and free of any lumps.
- Refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.
- Drain potatoes and use a paper towel to remove excess water.
- Working in batches, fry the potatoes in 320ºF oil for 2-3 minutes, or until they are pale and soft.
- Remove from oil and drain on a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet.
- Increase the temperature of the oil to 375ºF. Fry the potatoes again until crisp and golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Drain on the cooling rack and season with 1 tsp kosher salt.
- Keep fries warm in the oven and move on to the fish.
- Lower oil temperature to 350ºF.
- In a plate mix together ¼ cup all-purpose flour with cornstarch.
- Wash fish and pat dry with paper towels. Cut fish in half or into large strips.
- Lightly dredge fish strips in cornstarch mixture.
- Working in small batches, dip the fish into batter to coat thoroughly and gently immerse into hot oil.
- When the batter is firm and browned, turn the pieces of fish over and cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
- Drain fried fish onto another cookie rack placed over a baking sheet.
- When all the fish is fried, serve immediately with the french fries.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with the traditional malt vinegar or with lemon juice, cocktail sauce or tartar sauce.
Cooking Tips: Other fish alternatives: cod and pollack.
YES, you can fry using extra virgin olive oil! Extra virgin olive oil has a smoking point of 400-425ºF. Read more about frying in olive oil here.
Serving Size:2 pieces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 695Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 1147mgCarbohydrates: 83gFiber: 6gSugar: 2gProtein: 55g