RECIPE: Black beer batter fish n’ chips

image1 (1)Cod is my favourite kind of fish. I am fortunate enough to have access to Gaspé cod a few times a year, because my father has a summer house in Cap-aux-Os. He drives from Gaspé to Montreal a few times a year and always makes a cod pit stop for me in Quebec City. He gets the fish from the Rivière au Renard fish shop, one of the few places you can get cod from the Gaspé waters. You can’t fish cod anymore along the Gaspé coast, one can only have access to accidental catches.

For those of you who don’t know of the variety, cod is a light-tasting white fish. It is similar to sole or tilapia. I try not to use too many ingredients when making fish n’ chips with cod, because its subtle taste can easily get masked.

Tonight, I wanted to give black beer batter a try. I truly enjoy cooking with beer, especially the dark roasted chocolate and coffee flavoured microbrews. Tonight Boréale’s black beer is what I have in the fridge, but selections like McAuslan’s St-Ambroise oatmeal stout, the Noire de Chambly, Les Trois Mousquetaires’ schwarbeir or the Trou du Diable’s Le Sang d’Encre are what I recommend to cook with. These are a little more expensive, but you will have great taste.

You’ll notice here that I created a recipe where I added a whole bunch of tongue twisting flavours, but my mouth found gold. The trick is to balance all the ingredients together according to your own taste. For a bright summer flavour punch, add Les Soeur en Vrac‘s citrus & herbs mix right after the batter. No worries, all the steps are well described below. Bon appétit!

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

1 bottle of black beer 500 ml to 750 ml
1 ½ cup of flour
1 pound of white fish
½ cup of panko
1 tablespoon of Les Soeurs en Vrac’s citrus & herb blend
Oil of your choice, I recommend one that can sustain high heat like vegetable or peanut

INSTRUCTIONS

I don’t have a deep fryer. I use a large pan with high sides. Fill the up with oil so that you have about 2 centimetres high of oil in your pan. Don’t heat it up just yet. Prepare everything ahead of time so that you can easily dip the fish in the batter, cover it with your flour/panko/citrus mix and then fry without making too much of a mess.

-Pour your beer into a large bowl.
-Gently whisk the flour into the beer until in turns into a viscous batter. You want it thick enough to stick to the skin of your fish. 1 cup is usually enough, but it all depends on the quantity of your beer.
-mix the ½ cup of flour left in a plate with panko and a tablespoon of Les Soeurs en Vrac’s citrus & herb blend. It doesn’t matter if you don’t coat the fish entirely with the dry mix. We’re not aiming for perfection here, but taste. And use your hands!
-Heat up your pan of oil. Test the heat of your oil by pouring small amount of batter. When it fries, put your fish in. Try not to cook more than two pieces at a time.
-If using a pan, fry each side for about 5 minutes or until the panko turns golden brown.
-Set aside on a plate of paper towels to absorb the extra oil. Pitch a pinch of sea salt.
-Repeat for each filet. Feel free to add more dry mix to the batter if need be.

VEGETABLE CHIPS

12 Jerusalem artichokes
12 bell potatoes (grelots)
1 medium eggplant

-Using a mandoline, slice super slim slices of Jerusalem artichokes, eggplant and bell potatoes.
-toss them in a tablespoon of olive oil.
-add in a tablespoon of your favourite herbs or spices. My partner Marie-Eve used Joe Beef’s BBQ blend. Just enough heat, but not enough to overlap the fish. Toss some more.
-place the slices on parchment paper so that they don’t overlap. Place on the middle grill of your oven.
-heat at 345 F for about 20 minutes.

TARTARE SAUCE

-I buy Ferme du Bon Temp’s relish, but any variety of relish will do.
-In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of relish.
-Add 1 tablespoon of Meaux Mustard.
-Add 2 tablespoons of mayo.
-mix in of either ingredient to your taste.

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