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From Sea to Shining Sea: Southwest Friday Fish Fry

From Sea to Shining Sea: Southwest Friday Fish Fry
From Sea to Shining Sea: Southwest Friday Fish Fry
Chef Larry Edwards/Casa de Cuisine

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

Steps:

  1. In a large bowl whisk everything but the fish to form a batter. Let the batter sit about 20 minutes.
  2. In a large saute pan or skillet, heat a couple inches of oil until it reached 350 of a deep-fry thermometer.
  3. Dip the fish fillets into the batter until it is coated.
  4. Carefully place into the oil and fry until nicely golden and crunchy.
  5. Remove the fish to a paper towel lined plate until ready to serve.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."