Dec 31, 2015

Better-Than-A-Restaurant Beer Batter Fish or Onion Rings Recipe

From time to time, my family likes to splurge a little and have some beer battered fish and chips. And, a little more often, we like to add onion rings to my husband's fantastic grilled burgers; it puts them over the top! However, when I developed non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, I soon learned that unhealthy oils were something I couldn't indulge in - even a little bit. Sadly, nearly all restaurants cook with unhealthy oils - particularly when they fry food. So recently, I've had to learn to make our own battered fish and onion rings. At first, I was apprehensive, but it turns out it's very easy to do - and far superior to anything I've ever had in a restaurant! You don't even need a deep fryer.


Beer Batter Recipe

2 eggs
12 oz. cold beer
1 1/2 cups + 1 cup all purpose flour
Sea salt (I use Old Thompson's sea salt grinder)
Oil
2 1/2 to 3 lbs. of whatever you want to fry

A Few Notes:
  • You could probably use any beer you like. The original recipe (found in the now defunct Everyday Food magazine) called for light- or medium-bodied lager. I use cheap ol' Busch beer.  
  • Do use pure sea salt with nothing added to it, since processed salt is linked to autoimmune disorders - and salt with iodine added will taste "off." 
  • Oil choice is of paramount importance. In recent years, most cooks have taken to using vegetable or canola oil for frying. However, these are some of the most highly processed oils you can consume - and very good at clogging up your liver. On the other hand, the most commonly used healthy oil - extra virgin olive oil - is inappropriate for frying because when it reaches the appropriate temperature, it becomes carcinogenic. Refined olive oil, however, is considered an acceptable choice for frying. Personally, I use what my naturopath recommends: sesame oil.
  • Also, while you do not need a deep fryer for this recipe, you do absolutely need a decent thermometer. I prefer to the probe type (like this), rather than the stick type, so I can place the tip in the oil the entire time I'm cooking, to ensure the oil stays at the appropriate temperature.

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until the whites and yolks are well blended. Whisk in the beer. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt.

2. Pour 1 cup of flour into a shallow bowl. Place a wire cooling rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet and place near the stove.


To Make Beer Battered Fish:

Use cod or halibut. (I use cod and it's better than any beer battered halibut I've ever had!) I cut mine into single serving pieces, but you could do smaller strips, too. Then:

1. Fill a large, heavy skillet with oil. It should come about halfway up the sides of the food. If you have one, I highly recommend using a cast iron skillet; otherwise, any heavy skillet will do. Turn the heat to medium and place the thermometer in the oil.

2. Once the oil reaches 375 degrees F., cover the food in the flour and shake off any excess.

3. Dip in the beer batter, coating well, and brushing excess away.

4. Gently place the food in the skillet. Don't overcrowd the skillet; it's better to work in small batches.


5. Cook for approximately 3 minutes. (Begin timing when the first piece of food goes into the skillet.) Be sure to adjust the temperature of the stove to keep the oil at approximately 375 degrees F. the whole time you are cooking. The temp will fluctuate, but if it goes too low, things won't cook quickly and crisply - and if the temperature goes too high, you'll risk burning the food - and the oil will begin to smoke. For best results, make small adjustments to the temperature of the stove.

6. Turn the food over, using tongs. Cook approximately another 2 minutes, or until the food looks deep golden.

7. Using tongs, remove the food from the skillet and place on the prepared cooling rack. Immediately season with salt. If necessary, keep the food warm in an oven set at about 200 degrees F.

6. In between batches, use a slotted spoon to remove bits of batter from the oil.

So light and flaky!

To Make Onion Rings

I use yellow onions, because they are the staple in my kitchen and I always have them around - but you can use any type of onion you like.

1. Peel off the papery outer skins and slice onions into rings of whatever thickness you prefer. Place slices in a shallow bowl and cover with buttermilk. (It takes about 2 cups to cover the slices from one onion.) If you don't have buttermilk on hand, use regular milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar added to each cup.

2. Allow the onion slices to soak for 30 minutes. This step mellows the strong onion flavor and should not be skipped. After half an hour, remove the onion rings from the milk, one by one, and follow the fish frying steps outlined above.

Yum!


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