I’m fortunate to be married to a man who loves to fish, so we have a lot of fresh fish to eat. Ed’s favorite way to eat fish is fried, and while that may not be the healthiest recipe, nothing compares to fresh fried fish. It’s easy to make, but can be intimidating for people who have never made it (I know, I was one of them until Ed’s mom showed me how).
You will need:
- fish filets (how many will depend on how many fish you catch!)
- about a cup of flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
- 2-3 beaten eggs
- a bottle of canola oil
You really need to get fresh fish, which translates to local fish, since that will spend the least time traveling from the ocean (or stream) to your plate. Ed and his brother clean the fish, cutting it into filets and removing the skin.
Today we have blackfish and fluke. I cut the filets in half to make them easier to handle during cooking.
Coat the filets in a thin layer of flour. I find that a pie pan works well, but you could also use a shallow bowl.
Next, dip the fish in the beaten eggs. Again, I like to use a pie pan for this task. Coat the fish in egg on all sides. I like to use tongs so I don’t end up with thick layers of flour and egg on my fingers, but you could certainly use your hands.
Return the fish to the flour mixture and coat again. This will provide the crunchy coating on the fried fish. I’ll often mix equal parts panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs and flour for the second coating, but I didn’t have any today so I just used flour alone.
Next, fill a pan with canola oil to about an inch depth. I usually use my dutch oven, since the high sides help to keep the oil from splattering my kitchen. However, today my dutch oven was full of leftover macaroni and cheese, so I used a cast iron skillet instead. Heat the oil over high heat until it begins to shimmer, meaning it is hot. You can test it by dipping the edge of a piece of fish in the oil. If it simmers, it’s ready; if not, it needs to heat up more.
Add some of the fish to the pan, giving it plenty of space. I turn on the fan in the hood now, to prevent my house from smelling like fish for days. Cook for 2-3 minutes, depending on thickness, until you see the edges start to brown.
Flip the fish carefully. I use tongs but you could use a spatula. Allow the fish to cook another 2-3 minutes, or flip it a few more times until you get the level of browning you like. If the coating begins to burn, you may need to turn down the heat.
Remove the fish to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Cook the remaining fish in batches following the same procedure. You can keep the cooked fish hot on a sheet pan in a low oven if you’re cooking a lot of fish at once; if you only have two batches, it can rest on the paper towel.
Serve with lemon and tartar sauce. Leftovers make excellent sandwiches the next day! See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?