Capt. Charlie's Fried Fish

Start with your favorite fish, skinless and boneless - catch them that way if you can - if not, clean them to that point with a sharp knife, cut into "fingers" 1"x3", or squares, or leave them natural-shaped. It don’t really matter, just so they are all approximately the same size so they will take the same amount of time to cook.
fried fish
My favorite, grunts

•Plain cracker meal •Flour •Salt •Pepper •2 Eggs •1/2 Cup Milk •1 or 2 quarts Peanut oil •Frying or candy thermometer •Three rectangular baking pans, or bowls, or zip lock bags, or whatever •Deep fat fryer or a pot on the stove with high sides that will hold at least a gallon of liquid •Paper towels •Fresh newspaper •Tongs

(See Option 2 for Beer Batter recipe)

If any of you have ever heard of "mis en place" then you don’t need to read any more, because you already know more than I do about cooking. It means to get all your s___(stuff, you thought I meant something else, right) together before you start.

Begin by heating the peanut oil - at least one quart, in your fryer or pot, at least three inches deep, to a temperature of 375 degrees f. While the oil is heating, mix two eggs with 1/2 cup of milk and beat till frothy. Take one of your baking pans or bowls or whatever and put two cups of flour in it, salt and pepper it with one teaspoon of each. Take another bowl or whatever and put two cups of cracker meal in it. Wash your fingers ( No, not your fingers - I hope you washed your whole hand) I mean the fish fingers, or fillets and dredge them through the flour to coat. Dunk them in the egg and milk mixture and then dredge them in the cracker meal. Yes, you can do all this with zip locks or brown paper bags, that’s why I said bowls or whatever. Place your breaded fillets or fingers on a platter next to the hot oil.

Carefully, (Note: the oil should now be 375 degrees f, and that is HOT! and will burn the you-know-what out of you.) drop your breaded fish into the oil until it is one layer thick (guess at this, OK) If the oil runs over out of the pot and catches on fire on the stove and burns your house down, then you know that you have tried to fry too much fish at once. Use some common sense. Maybe if you are nervous you should only try to fry five or six fingers at one time. When the fish floats to the top of the oil(see why it needs to be three inches deep) it is done. Don’t second guess me on this, don’t go by the color, just take it out of the oil and place on paper towels over newspaper to drain. There is no set time to fry fish unless you know exactly how much it weighs, how thick it is, and exactly what temperature it is when placed in the oil. So don’t try to get too smart, just take the fish out when it floats!

At this point you may want to taste your creation, but you’d better wait cause it’s still HOT dummy. By the time you wait for the fryer to come back to 375 degrees f and put your next batch of fish in, it should have cooled down enough for you to only blister the roof of your mouth a bit.

About that temperature - If you don’t have an automatic fryer with a thermostat, you should regulate the heat on your stove so that the oil re-heats to 375 degrees f and not any higher . If you go to 400 degrees, it won’t hurt, but the burner on your stove should be turned off at this point and not turned back on until the temperature is below 360 degrees f. This is really the most important thing about frying fish; use the correct temperature and Take it out when it floats!

Eat hearty - and if it’s good, save the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. It will make great cold fried fish sandwiches.

Capt. Charlie

Option 2:

Beer Batter for your Fried fish

This one is really easy, using self rising flour and your favorite brand of beer, mix the two until they are the consistency of pancake batter.  Dip your fish pieces into the batter and immediately drop into the hot grease...Take them out when they float

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