Beka To Basics

Real Food Cooking

Archive for the category “Fish”

Fish and Chips! (minus the chips, add a salad)

I love fish. I love potatoes. I love crunchy food. So, naturally, I order fish and chips from time to time.  I am almost always disappointed.  Sometimes, the fish is too fishy, other times, the potatoes are over done, or underdone, or everything is lukewarm, or soggy. BUT, every time, the batter is tasteless. Each and every time, I am saddened by the lack of flavor on my fish.  Don’t get me wrong, I want to taste the fish. Cod is delicious, but I am looking for enhancement of the flavor along with a crisp crunch. I keep searching for the perfect, delicious, crunchy, flavorful fish and chips.

Sometimes, to get things done right, you have to do them yourself.

I have not perfected my personal chip (we’re talking french fries here, not chips in the American sense, for you laymen of the fish and chips ;)), so I endeavored to make one half of the fish and chip. I can work on the chips later.

Fish Batter

Pan Fried and Golden

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • cayenne pepper (I used a quite a bit, but I like spicy)
  • milk
  • frying oil
  • 1/2 lb Cod fillets, cut into pieces

Heat your oil. Salt and pepper the fish.  Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, add 1/4 cup of milk and stir.  If the batter is too dry, add another bit of milk, stir.  Repeat until you have a mixture that looks like pancake batter.  Make sure your oil is hot enough by dripping some batter into it.  It should sizzle a little bit, but not enough that it browns super quickly. Remember, you want crunchy on the outside, but fully cooked fish on the inside, NOT crunch on the outside and raw on the inside. Or worse. cooked on the inside and completely black on the outside.  Believe me, I’ve done both, and every time, it’s so sad.

Sorry for the lack of specifics here, I’ve tried candy/frying thermometers and I have yet to find one that works for me.  So I guess.  You can guess too.

When the oil is hot, dip each piece into the batter, let the extra dip off, and put in the frying oil.  Repeat until the pan is full.  Fish doesn’t take all that long, probably about 7 minutes or so, but you can always take a piece out and cut it open to be sure before taking the rest of it out.  I don’t ever have enough oil to deep fry, so I tend to pan fry.  If you take that route, then cook for about 5 minutes, flip and cook for 3 to 5 minutes more.  You’ll know when it’s done when you stick a fork in it and it falls apart.  Let them drain on a cooling rack, or some other such draining device, and enjoy!

Featured at: Fat Tuesday

How to make a fish cake

I haven’t bought fish in months. I know, fish is really good for you and its really tasty.  I’m not afraid of cooking fish, I know sometimes that’s what keeps people from buying fish.  Fish is actually really easy, and fast.  I haven’t bought it recently because I’ve been so enthralled with cooking other meats that I haven’t cooked with before.  Like Pork Belly, Denver Ribs, Boston Butt, Beef Suet, and Pork Back Fat. Who wouldn’t be distracted by all the new and different cuts of meat that I never even knew about. So, I saw this cod for sale and it made me realize just how long it’s been since I cooked fish.  So, I got it. And I cooked it. With the tomatillo sauce like my friend told me to try. And you know what?

I overcooked it. It was kind of gross.

I know how to cook fish. I know that you take it out at least a minute before you think it’s done and let it sit and then test it to make sure its flaky and cooked through.  Not this time.  I did a visual check and decided it needed 5 more minutes (5 more minutes for fish is like 30 more minutes for anything else, seriously don’t know what I was thinking).  It was dry, rubbery, and not tasty.

Fail.

And a fail that involved having an extra overcooked, rubbery and not tasty fillet left over.  I was not excited about suffering through another gross dinner.

What to do?  Yep. Fish Cake.  My gift to everyone else 😉 When you make fish that you don’t want to finish, turn it into this and people will actually request that you make it again.

Fish Cakes

  • Fillet or two of cooked fish, flaked. You could also use chopped shrimp or crab
  • Egg (or 2, depending on how much fish you have)
  • Breadcrumbs, or crushed croutons which I used cause that was all I had
  • clove of garlic
  • parsley
  • mashed potatoes
  • salt and pepper

I have 1 fillet, so I shredded it and added 1 whisked egg along with about a tsp of parsley, some salt and pepper, about half a cup of crushed croutons and about a half cup of mashed potatoes.  You want to have a sticky mixture, but you also want it to hold together.  Preheat a pan and some fat (oil, butter, or lard work well), just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.  Put the patties in the pan and let cook for about 5 minutes, and then flip.  5 more minutes and the on to the dinner plate.

Serve with a salad or steamed broccoli with cheese (or both!) and call it a night!

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