I love the adventure of trying to re-create something at home. Part of being on a budget means that if I really want something, I need to make it myself. If I crave Indian food, I need to go to the trouble to make it myself. If I want pizza night, I need to remember to make dough far enough ahead of time. And last night, it was the Friday night fish fry. We have several restaurants that we go to that make excellent fried fish, but since it's not in the budget to go out, I was determined to learn how to do this at home. In my mind I had a vision of good pub-style fish-n-chips, so I needed to find a good beer batter first of all. There are many different beer batters out there, and I actually ended up with my own adaptation, but the one I used as my starting point had a beaten egg white in it to give it extra lift- I liked that idea.
Since my husband is a home brewer, I had my choice of ales for the beer batter, and settled on a Pale Ale for the beer component. I assembled my batter and let it rest. This step is important, I let the batter rest for a full hour on the counter before dipping in the fish. That was okay, because in the mean time I got my tartar sauce together, got my fat melting and heating up, and got my fish ready for dipping. I used straight up cod that I'd cut into smaller chunks so it would have plenty of room in the fryer. I started with a nugget. A small amuse bouche to see if my fat was hot enough, and to check and see if this batter was even any good. My fat was hot enough, and we both thought the batter was excellent. So the batch was fried up, and in no time we were sitting down to some beer-battered fish.
It was very good- the texture is fantastic. It's very light and crispy, and really lets the fish shine. I have decided that Pale Ale was not the beer to use, and for my taste, I would prefer a lighter beer next time, and I also think that a pinch of heat would be excellent. A touch of cayenne or maybe something smokey like chipotle. But overall, for a first time fish fry, this was really very good. We're already planning on a redux very soon when we can get ahold of some better quality fish. The little local store just didn't have much to pick from, and our fish was not of the highest quality. But we did have ourselves some very good fish. My chips were sadly from a bag, and I'll have to work on that next. But for a first time out, the fish was very good and the Beer Batter for Fish is a keeper.