Cooking with Beer: Beer Battered Catfish

Cooking with Beer

For this post on cooking with beer I will go over a beer batter recipe in which Boardwalk and I used Port City’s IPA as the base.  The recipe is based off of one from my favorite chef: Alton Brown.  He did Chips and Fish, but we stuck to the fish.

The idea for this meal came about when Boardwalk suggested we take a trip to the DC fish market on Maine Ave.

While the most popular item at the market was the Chesapeake Bay Blue crabs.  We made the decision to go with fish. Our options seemed endless and everything looked amazing.  We decided on the catfish because it looked great and was reasonably priced.

The recipe called for 1 and 1/2 pounds of fish so we ordered two fillets and it was about the right amount (ended up being a little bit more if I remember correctly).

Our modified recipe:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Dash Old Bay Seasoning
  • 12oz of the Port City IPA from a growler
  • 1 1/2 pounds catfish
  • Cornstarch, for dredging
  • oil for frying

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. Whisk in the beer until the batter is completely smooth and free of any lumps. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Note: The batter can be made up to 1 hour ahead of time.

Next, heat enough oil so that it’ll cover, or mostly cover, the fish to 350F.  We used a dutch oven for the frying vessel, but any heavy enough pot would work.  While the oil is heating, cut the fish into 1-ounce strips and set up a container for the cornstarch.  Dredge the fish in the cornstarch then cover with the beer batter.

Once the oil is at 350F, carefully drop small batches of fish into the oil (we did three at a time) and cook for about two minutes on each side or until golden brown on both sides.

Remove the cooked fish and place on a drying rack to let excess oil drip away.Alton suggested serving with malt vinegar and “chips” but we went with a homemade tartar sauce and summer squash.

The big question is how did it taste.  The batter was light, crunchy and expanded quite a bit.  It also had hints of the hops from the beer with a slight bitterness, but also a little citrus (the IPA was on the sweeter, citrusy side).  It was quite flavorful and, for a change, the beer actually showed through.  However, even though the batter was light and crunchy in the mouth, it was greasy and heavy in the stomach (which could have been user error with either the amount of oil or its temperature).  This recipe has its strong points and its weak points and I feel like the overall flavor outweighed the negatives so I would recommend trying this recipe.


One response

  1. Pingback: SAVOR Beer Week Event Preview: Flying Dog Backyard Symposium « The J Street Beer Review

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