Get that big ol' cast iron pot full of bubbling corn oil, plop in a few pieces of battered white fish, kick back with a beer and get ready for a true taste of pure Americana. Ahhh, there is nothing quite like a good old-fashioned fish fry...unless you do it Southwestern style!
Out here where the cowboys roamed, prostitution was a profession and sheep were never safe, we like our fish fry with a little zing. None of this "dip-it-in-a-beer-batter" fish for us. Oh no, we want some spice! We want to smack our lips! We just don't want to just taste the fish, we want to feel it!
I once asked this fish fryer in the great state of Wisconsin what his recipe for his fish fry was. He beltched a good Miller Draft Beer burp, looked at me with bloodshot eyes and said "hell, I ain't got no recipe. I just dip and fry!" Well, I have a recipe! When I gather friends for a fish fry the rules are simple. I supply the fish and the fry and they supply the beer. I think this is fair!
You can only use a solid white fish for a fish fry. It is the law. Out here in the Southwest we tend to use Tilapia. It's cheap, takes the batter well and fries to perfection. If I am in a fancy mood and the jeans and tee-shirt are clean, I'll fry the fish in olive oil (at a lower temperature than corn oil). By-the-way, make your batter before you start drinking the beer, it's safer that way!
Ingredients needed for a Southwestern Fish Fry (this will serve 4 but double it if you want):
- 2 cups flour
- 2 Tbs. baking powder
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups iced water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbs. garlic powder
- 2 Tbs. chili powder
- corn oil for frying
- some big ol' white fish fillets
- In a large bowl whisk everything but the fish to form a batter. Let the batter sit about 20 minutes.
- In a large saute pan or skillet, heat a couple inches of oil until it reached 350 of a deep-fry thermometer.
- Dip the fish fillets into the batter until it is coated.
- Carefully place into the oil and fry until nicely golden and crunchy.
- Remove the fish to a paper towel lined plate until ready to serve.
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