Calling something THE BEST is a bit cheeky. I mean it is all a matter of personal taste. But having tried this recipe, I say it without reserve. My family won’t eat any other now. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do – I just wish I could take credit for it! If you Google “In Search of Perfection, by Heston Blumenthal” you will come up with a lot of his recipes online. Blumenthal is the self trained chef who owns The Fat Duck restaurant in England. Now if you happen to want THE PERFECT Gin and Tonic, another British favorite, you need to hop over to the Food Network for Davis Rosengarten’s. Yup, perfection.

Fried Fish With Vodka and Beer Batter Published: March 7, 2007 in The New York Times

Time: About 45 minutes

Adapted from “In Search of Perfection,” by Heston Blumenthal (Bloomsbury, 2006)

  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 4 large fillets) turbot, sole or flounder **
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups white rice flour; more for dusting
  • 2 to 3 quarts vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups vodka
  • 1 1/4 cups lager beer

1. Rinse fish fillets, and dry with paper towels. Season well with salt and pepper, and dust with rice flour, shaking off any extra. Set aside.

2. Place a wide, deep pan over medium heat. Add oil to a depth of at least 1 1/2 inches, and bring to 375 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. In a medium bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, 1 1/4 cups rice flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly stir in the vodka and beer to make a batter. (Don’t make batter ahead of time, or the bubbles from the lager will be lost.)

3. Dip one fillet into batter to coat it completely, and lower into hot oil. Repeat with other fillets. When undersides of fillets are golden brown, after 1 or 2 minutes, turn, and brown other sides, a minute or two. Lift from oil, drain and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

**Personally, I use Cod (and go to the fish store for this – it’s an expensive batter, don’t ruin it with inferior fish).

MY NOTES: This is best done in a professional style deep fryer and lower fish SLOWLY inch by inch so it doesn’t stick to the basket. For the chips, I use OreIda steak fries. Before you start on the fish, put the frozen chips in the fryer and take them out when they are a light golden color and leave draining (this is another reason the professional style deep friers are better – multiple baskets). Then do the fish. Then you put the fries in again until they have reached the color you want. A good friend of mine owned a chipper wagon and he taught me this made the best chips (starting from frozen and doing twice) and he was right.

Published by Kate Eileen Shannon

Artist, Crafter, Writer, purveyor of ephemera and bagatelle


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