Beer Battered Fish. Yes! Chocolate Pudding. Believe it or not, No!

Little Miss enjoying her fish taco.

Last week when I was doing my weekly meal planning My Man requested fish tacos for dinner. Hmmm….one of my favorite things to order in a restaurant but I’ve never attempted my own variety. How hard could it be? Well, I found out it’s not too hard at all.

I’m not much a frying kind of cook. Once in a while I’ll pan fry something – maybe some burgers or fish or chicken but I’ve never deep friend (except for fondu – I do make a good fondu hot-pot) but I appreciate a good piece of deep-fried fish. I think it’s the idea of having a big pot of VERY hot oil on my stove just doesn’t seem that appealing to me – not to mention the fried fish smell my house would take on after the cooking. But I knew, if I wanted to make good fish tacos, I needed to give the deep-frying a shot. I just like the crunchy fish texture in my taco that a grilled or baked or even panned fried fish would not give me.

Where to begin? Last Christmas my brother gave me one of the best gifts – The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. This book is full of delicious recipes and I knew that it would have the step-by-step directions to make the deep-fried goodness I was looking for. And indeed it did. Beer-Battered Fried Fish is the recipe I followed – easy as can be – and except for the dangerousness of the hot oil I accomplished making restaurant quality fish. It was best piping hot out of the oil and even Buddy ate it! I also used the recipe the ATK folks had for Chipotle Mayonnaise that was that perfect combination of smokey and spicey and it took our tacos from bland to bang! My house did smell fishy, and my vintage thermometer (inheritance from my Grandma O) broke causing a mercury Hazmat clean up but I’ll totally make this fish again!

The night of the heavenly fish was also the night of the pudding disaster. I found a recipe in the February issue of Real Simple titled “the ultimate chocolate pudding“. On the page was a photo of two little bowls of creamy looking chocolate delishiousness. I read through the recipe and I thought it seemed pretty easy to do and wouldn’t everyone love a little bowl of chocolate putting with a squirt of whipped cream on top? And while I followed the directions to a T (which I’m not always inclined to do) my pudding did not look creamy, smooth, or even that edible. My pudding was full of lumps and bumps and tasted as blech as it looked. The texture was off and the chocolate flavor was chalky. The recipe went into the recycling bin and the pudding into the trash.

Beer-Battered Fried Fish

Beer-Battered Fried Fish

  • 4-5 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup light-colored beer
  • 2 pounds skinless cod, cut into 4×1″ strips

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Pour the oil into a large Dutch oven until it measures 1″ deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, salt, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne together in a lg. bowl. When the oil is almost ready, whisk the beer into the flour mixture until completely smooth.

3. Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Add half the fish to the batter and stir gently to coat. Use tongs to lift the pieces of fish from the batter, one at a time, allowing any batter to drip back into the bowl, and add to the hot oil.

4. Fry, stirring the fish gently to prevent the pieces from sticking together, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

5. Remove the fried fish from the oil and let drain briefly on paper towels. Transfer the drained fish to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Return the oil to 375 degrees and batter and fry the remaining fish.

Chipotle Mayonnaise

1 cup mayonnaise

1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced

1 tsp adobo sauce

Mix up the 3 ingredients. Spread it on your tortilla, add some lettuce, your fried fish, and have a taco!

The ultimate chocolate pudding?

The Ultimate Chocolate Pudding  (NOT)

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chopped chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • whipped cream, for serving
  1. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt. Gradually whisk in the milk, then the egg yolks.
  2.  Cook the milk mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened to the consistency of mayonnaise, 7 to 8 minutes. Continue to cook, whisking, for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and pour through the sieve into the bowl, pushing the mixture through gently with a rubber spatula or spoon. Add the butter and chocolate and stir until melted. Mix in the vanilla.
  3. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.  Before serving, gently stir the pudding to loosen it. Serve with the whipped cream.

If any of you all try this pudding and have success let me know!

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