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Today we’re preparing a batch of classic Beer Battered Fish and Chips, and we’ll be doing so with a little help from my long-time friends over at Argo®. Today’s fish and chips cooks up with a deliciously crisp and dense coating, and a succulently moist and tender interior.
We’re using a dark beer for the batter, which gives the coating a rich ‘hops’ flavor, adding a nice bit of complexity and depth to this tried-and-true classic. For the fries we’re using malt vinegar and sea salt coating, giving them a nice bit of ‘salty tang.’ Paired with a super simple tartar sauce – just relish, lemon juice, salt, pepper and mayonnaise – and you’re good to go.
At the heart of this dish lies the crispy beer batter – that transforms the cod fillets into a crispy delight. The secret? It's all about the right combination of ingredients and technique. We've carefully crafted a crispy batter that strikes the perfect balance between crunch and tenderness. And the star of the show? A splash of pale ale that imparts a subtle richness, giving the batter its signature beer notes.
The end result is lusciously flaky fish, encased in a crispy shell that imparts a delightful crunch into every bite with every bite. Picture the satisfaction of dipping those golden treasures into tangy tartar sauce or savoring them with a drizzle of malt vinegar – it's the classic pairing that never fails to delight. Our Best Crispy Beer Battered Fish and Chips Recipe brings together the best of both worlds – the irresistible allure of crispy fish and the hearty goodness of perfectly air-fried potato chips.
The importance of achieving the crispiest batter cannot be overstated. It's the hallmark of a successful fish and chips experience – providing a delicious contrast to the tender fish within. We've meticulously fine-tuned this recipe to ensure that every bite offers the ultimate crispiness, making this the best ever fish and chips experience.
So, whether you're recreating a beloved British tradition or simply looking for a delectable and fun meal, our Best Crispy Beer Battered Fish and Chips Recipe is here to delight. Read on for an ingredient checklist to make you’ve got everything you need, tips for frying, and a quick guide on selecting and preparing the fish for frying.
Now, without further delay, let’s get frying.
Ingredient Checklist – Everything You’ll Need
- 2 pounds fresh cod, haddock, or halibut (cut into 6 equal pieces)
- Note: You can use your preferred type of white fish for this recipe.
- Tip: Ensure the fish fillets are patted dry before coating with batter for optimal crispiness.
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus ¼ cup
- Substitution: You can use a gluten-free flour blend if needed.
- 3/4 cup Argo Cornstarch
- Note: You might be asking “Why put cornstarch in the batter?” And it’s a fair question, since corn starch is usually a thickening agent for sauces, and is perhaps most commonly used in various Asian cuisines for stir-fries – and for those uses it ‘is’ absolutely perfect. It’s also great to whip up lump free gravies. However, for today’s recipe corn starch is acting as our not-so-secret Ingredient, since it’s what ties the entire recipe together. First and foremost, it helps bind the batter to the fish, ensuring that the coating doesn’t fall off during frying. Second, it makes the coating much more ‘crisp,’ giving it a delicious, never-mushy texture that can easily stand up to your favorite gravies or sauces. By itself, corn starch has ‘twice’ the thickening power of flour alone. Also, an aside Argo® Corn Starch is simply great to have on hand, since it’s such a versatile kitchen staple that goes well beyond today’s fish and chips recipe, such as for fluffy omelets or for thickening soups. As a nice bonus, Argo® Corn Starch is gluten free.
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Tip: Baking powder helps the batter rise and creates a delicate texture.
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Tip: Adjust the salt to taste, keeping in mind that the batter and chips will be seasoned.
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Substitution: Use white pepper if you prefer a milder flavor.
- 12 ounces dark beer (such as Guinness)
- Note: The beer contributes flavor and carbonation, resulting in a light and airy batter.
- Substitution: If you don't want to use beer, you can use sparkling water as a non-alcoholic alternative.
- Oil for frying
- Tip: Use a high-heat oil like vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil for frying.
- 6 large Russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thickly
- Tip: Soaking the potato slices in cold water helps remove excess starch, resulting in crispier chips.
- 2 tablespoons Malt vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
- Note: This adds tanginess and enhances the flavor of the chips.
- Tip: You can adjust the amount of vinegar based on your taste preferences.
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
- Note: This is for seasoning the chips after frying.
How to Fry – Tips and Pointers
Mastering the art of frying is the key to achieving that coveted golden and crisp texture in dishes like beer-battered fish and chips. As we’re not using a deep fryer or air fryer, proper frying technique can make all the difference in the final result, ensuring that your fish turns out beautifully crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside. Here are some essential tips to help you master the frying process:
- Choose the Right Oil: Opt for high-heat cooking oils like vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil. Do not use olive oil, as the temperature of the oil needed for frying will burn the olive oil, making it taste rancid. These oils have a higher smoke point, which means they can withstand the high temperatures needed for frying without breaking down.
- Use a Thermometer: A thermometer is your best friend when it comes to frying. It helps you maintain the right oil heat (around 350°F to 375°F or 175°C to 190°C) for optimal results. If the oil is too hot, the batter may brown quickly while leaving the inside undercooked.
- Preheat the Oil: Place a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat and add enough oil to submerge the fish fillets – about an inch of oil. Allow the oil to heat gradually until it reaches the desired temperature. A gentle sizzle when a small piece of batter is dropped in indicates that the oil is ready.
- Dredge Fish in Batter: Dip the fish fillets into the fish batter, making sure they are evenly coated. Allow any excess batter to drip off before adding them to the hot oil. Again, this is where the importance of a thick batter comes in, as a thick batter is better able to withstand the rigors of deep frying.
- Fry in Batches: Avoid overcrowding the pan, as it can lead to uneven cooking and soggy results. Fry the coated fish fillets in batches, making sure they have enough space to cook evenly.
- Maintain Oil Temperature: It's crucial to maintain the oil temperature throughout the frying process. Adjust the heat as needed to keep the oil consistently hot.
- Turn Fish Gently: Use tongs or a slotted spoon to turn the fish fillets gently in the oil. This helps ensure even browning on all sides.
- Drain Excess Oil: Once the fish fillets are golden brown and crispy, carefully remove them from the oil using a slotted spoon. Place them on a wire rack or a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.
By following these steps and honing your frying technique, you'll be well on your way to creating beer-battered fish and chips that boast a perfectly golden and crispy exterior, paired with tender and flaky fish on the inside.
Fish Primer – Prepping and Selecting
Preparing the fish is a crucial step in achieving the best results for your crispy beer-battered fish and chips. The choice of fish is equally important, as it greatly influences the taste, texture, and overall quality of the dish. Here's a closer look at how to prepare the fish and the best fish options for frying:
Preparing the Fish:
- Quality Matters: Begin with fresh fish fillets that are of the highest quality. Freshness ensures that the fish will have a delicate flavor and a firm texture once cooked.
- Deboning and Skinning: If your fish fillets still have bones or skin, carefully debone and remove the skin before proceeding. This ensures that the batter adheres well to the fish and that your guests can enjoy a hassle-free dining experience.
- Proper Sizing: Cut the fish into evenly sized pieces. This not only ensures even cooking but also provides a satisfying serving size for your guests.
Choosing the Best Fish:
When it comes to beer-battered fish and chips, certain fish varieties are well-suited for frying due to their firm texture, mild flavor, and ability to hold up to the batter. Among the top choices are:
- Cod: Fresh cod fish is a classic choice for fish and chips. Its flaky white flesh provides a great contrast to the crispy batter, creating a harmonious balance of textures.
- Haddock: Another popular option, haddock has a similar texture to cod and boasts a slightly sweeter flavor. It's known for its ability to absorb flavors well, making it a fantastic canvas for the beer batter.
- Halibut: With its firm and meaty texture, halibut is an excellent choice for those who prefer a heartier fish. Its mild flavor pairs wonderfully with the beer batter and adds a luxurious touch to the dish.
These fish varieties are ideal for frying due to their ability to hold their shape during cooking and their tendency to flake beautifully once done. When choosing fish for your beer-battered fish and chips, opt for fresh fillets that are sustainably sourced and handled with care. Their freshness and quality will shine through in the final dish, ensuring a memorable and delicious dining experience.
Delicious Pairings and Sides
- Coleslaw. First up, a traditional coleslaw, featuring shredded cabbage with a lemon juice, pickle juice, and mayonnaise dressing.
- Onion Rings. These are one of my favorite recipes. Period. They cook up with a deliciously thick and crispy coating, and pair wonderfully with a variety of foods, from burgers and steaks, to today’s fish and chips.
- Watermelon Salad. A simple watermelon and basil salad, as a light and fruity pairing to today’s fish and chips would be simply perfect.
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