BATTER UP!!!
By Montana Grant

Posted: August 12, 2021

Battered Fish Filets can be the hit of every fish fry! The key to a good batter is to add texture, flavor, and presentation. The batter needs to stay onto the fish as well. Batters that fall off or crumble just taste oily, greasy, or wet. A tasty Battered filet needs to be crunchy, dry, good looking, and add taste to the fish.

Here are some simple tips to make you fish batter the best!

Combine 1 cup of flour and add a little cornmeal to it. This will add some flavor, firmness, and texture. Now add 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder with 1 ½ teaspoons of salt to the flour. Now mix 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda to 2 teaspoons of vinegar and add them to the flour mix. Combine the ingredients and set aside.

Now give your attention to you fish. Are they well rinsed? Have you checked for bones? Are you scaling or skinning?

If the fish comes from polluted waters/ has consumption warnings, make sure to trim away the fins, belly fat, and skin. This is where the toxins may build up. Older, bigger fish will contain more toxins than smaller, younger fish.

Dry off the fish filets with a towel. Most people do not do this. Next, dip the filets into the Batter.

If you use a dry Pancake Batter mix, spiced with Old Bay seasoning, allow the coated filets to rest on wax paper for at least 30 minutes. This allows the dry coating to combine with the fish. I mention this since this is a quick shore lunch method and a favorite.

Dredge the dry filet into the wet batter and let drip off. The fryer/ fry oil should be hot! Use a thermometer. If you drop filets into cold, or cooler oil, the filet absorbs the oil, and the fish will be greasy. If you place the battered filet into hot oil, the bond between the batter and filet will stick and keep the oil on the outside.

When dropping the filets into hot oil, submerge half of the filet then allow the rest to drop. Avoid splashing of the hot oil. Also consider what type of oil to use. Peanut oil is tasty, but Canola is healthier.  Know the flashpoints of whatever oil you are using to avoid a fire.

Keep the fry area clear of kids and critters. Anticipate an accident and you will avoid it. Wear a pair of protective glasses when frying. Also keep a fire extinguisher handy. Sadly, many Fish Frys include alcohol. Drunk people have more accidents.

Handle fish with tongs, rather than your fingers. Use one pair of tongs for the precook and a different pair for the after cook. A deep fish fryer works great and has an internal basket. You can lift the cooked filets out and allow the filets to drain and cool, while the oil has a chance to reheat to fry temperature. This will keep your fry filets consistent and perfect. The filets will just take a few minutes. When they float, they are ready!

The oil is also perfect for fried onions, French fries, or Hush puppies. I usually do the sides first, then the fish.

Place finished fish filets onto paper towels in a foil tray. Cover with foil and deliver to the table.

This Batter recipe and procedure will hit your Fish Fry Filets Out of the Park!

Montana Grant