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Recipe of the day – Fried fish batter

Perfect for making fish and chips, this batter is very simple and  has a surprising ingredient – Guinness. It makes a very light and fluffy but crispy crust and gives the crust the most wonderful golden brown color . We had a visiting corporate chef that gave me the very simple recipe. It works best if you chill the flour first, but that’s not necessary. You can also find variations of this recipe on the web – you might experiment to see which one you like best.

Two bottles ice cold 12 oz bottles of Guinness

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Liberal dash of salt

Small dash of pepper

Reserve one bottle of Guinness in the refrigerator. Combine dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add Guinness.  Let sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. At the 20 minute mark, remove the reserved bottle of Guinness from the refrigerator and place on counter. 

When you use it, dust your fish filets in flour and dredge.  Immediately before dredging, open the top of the reserved bottle and pour into a clean pint glass. Tilt glass 45 degrees and fill 3/4 of the glass, pouring at a moderately slow speed. Return to fish and dredge your first fish.  Fry in 350 degree oil. Try to cook them in enough oil to totally submerge them. This will keep you from having to flip them over with a spatula which can tear the delicate batter. When the first batch is  about 1 1/2 minutes in, top off the glass of Guinness slowly, allowing the head to stay intact. At this point, the head should be a little over an inch tall. Stop as the head is just short of the rim. Wait a beat and then dribble the remaining beer on top. This should give you a slight dome.  Take an appreciative look at the glass that you’ve poured and take your first sip. The fish filets should be close to done  If you did have to cook it in less oil in a skillet, now’s about the time to turn them –  just make sure that you don’t turn them until the bottom side is almostthe final color). If they are floating in a deep fat fryer, give them a quick flip with a wooden spoon or spatula.  When you turn the filet, just be really careful flipping it. First of all, you don’t want to mess up the beautiful batter. But more importantly, you don’t want to splash oil on yourself and you definitely don’t want to get your glass of Guinness tainted with hot oil. this will destroy the carefully constructed head that you’ve built.

Some recipes add an egg. I found that the lightest, crispiest batter doesn’t use egg. So try it first without egg. But if you like a firmer, thicker batter, or you think the batter is too light, feel free to add an egg the next time. 

Try to choose firm white fish like cod or haddock and make sure that the filets are around an inch thick and fairly uniform in thickness. Make sure also that you haven’t used your last two bottles of Guinness because you’re going to need at least one more per person being served (I like to assure that I have 3 per guest, but your mileage may vary).

Thanks to Jeff, the corporate training chef who gave me this recipe.