One of the things I miss most about the midwest and living in Illinois and Indiana, is their Friday Night Fish Fries! Just about every restaurant and corner bar in every small town in the heartland serves up some kind of “A.Y.C.E.” fish every Friday night! The entire evening was full of fun and was sure to include some games of throwing darts and shooting pool with a small group of close friends! Fun times for sure! And boy oh boy, you want to talk about some good tasting fish! And I’m not even a fish lover! Piles of “All You Can Eat” freshly caught fish from Lake Michigan and the “10,000 lakes” from the Upper Peninsula including everything from delicately breaded and deep-fried lake perch, bass, blue gill, catfish, crappie, smelt and rainbow trout! You name it and they have it somewhere! And if you’re extremely lucky, you’ll find a little tavern tucked away in a sleepy little neighborhood that happens to serve the Cadillac, primo, it just doesn’t get any better than this, of all freshwater fish…the mild, lightly sweet walleye! Ohhhhh myyyyyyy!!! Truly a succulent delicacy!
I’d about give anything for a steaming plate of lightly breaded, freshly caught, mild, and slightly sweet lake or stream fish piled high with extra tartar sauce for dippin’ ! 😉 But since we live by the ocean now, saltwater fish will just have to do. I’m not super fond of ocean fish. It seems to have a much stronger “fishy taste” that I just don’t care for, but there are a few kinds that are mild enough for me to handle, such as cod! I really love it! And it’s a sturdy enough fish that it doesn’t fall apart easily when fried and is great for grilling, too. It works extremely well for this recipe and is as close as I can get to reminding me of “home”.
In the heart of the midwest, you always had a choice of fries or a baked potato, cole slaw and some kind of bread or soft dinner rolls to be served with your fish. It was a simple meal that just couldn’t be beat! So any or all of the above side dishes go well, or you can even serve your fish with some oven-roasted potato wedges if preferred as I did here. Best to choose something simple though, and let the fish be the shining star of the show!
Welp, I may be getting too old for the “bar scene” now, and prefer to stay at home, but I’ll never be too old for a good old-fashioned fish fry! So drag out the big, deep frying pan or deep-fryer, invite over some close friends and have a fun evening with good food, great conversation, a few games of darts or pool, and mugs of ice cold beer! 😉 Enjoy!!
PUB-STYLE BEER BATTERED COD
Serves 4 (8 – 2″x4″ pieces of cod)
8 – 2″x4″ pieces of cod, patted dry (will coat more if smaller)
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup Indian Head Old-Fashioned Stone Ground Yellow Corn Meal, it’s less grainy than most
1 tsp. seasoning salt
1/4 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 extra-large egg, beaten
1 cup beer
oil for frying
tartar sauce for dipping
french fries with malt vinegar, cole slaw and soft dinner rolls if desired
Heat oil to 375 degrees.
Cut up cod into 8 – 2″x4″ sized pieces and pat dry.
In medium bowl, whisk next 7 ingredients well, slowly whisking in beer last. Dip pieces into batter coating well and letting excess drip off a little. Carefully place into hot oil and fry for 4-5 minutes and until they are a deep golden brown on both sides, turning as needed. Set on a baking sheet topped with a cooling rack. *DO NOT cook too many pieces at once crowding them. The oil temp will drop and they’ll be soggy and greasy. The fish will stay hot until all of the pieces are done, or you can pop them into a low oven (200-250 degrees) while you finish cooking them all, but it really in’t necessary.
Serve with tartar sauce, fries with malt vinegar, cole slaw, and soft, warm dinner rolls if desired.