Fried fish is one of those things I can't live without. I feel healthy eating fish and then I feel like an adult / not being healthy by battering it and putting it inside bread! My crispy fish sandwich is quite simply a winner. Whip up some aioli using my pickled jalapenos and this guy is droolworthy!
Whenever I cook at home I am always trying to find ways to add texture to my dishes. I feel it's hugely important to the mouthfeel and the experience. Damn, that sounds dirty. Maybe I should be writing a different story today.......... Anyway, much like adding salt, acidity, fat etc texture is a huge part of food. As we all know battering the fish is hardly healthy and some experts will frown upon it. They will say you are ruining the fish BUT when you take a bite of that sandwich it all makes sense. Fresh fish, perfectly crispy exterior, delicious slaw and my homemade pickled jalapeno/coriander aioli. Drooling yet? Truthfully you could just pan fry the fish to cut down on some calories - BUT where's the fun in that?
Which fish do I use?
Fresh is best! Don't get me wrong now the convenience of frozen fish that is already battered has it's merits but if you really want to taste the fish then head to your local fishmonger and get some good quality fish. Plus it makes the battering part a little less guilty. Gotta have some excuses right?
As you can see white fish tends to be best. You want fish that retains a little moisture and is firm to the touch but nice and flaky once cooked. If you aren't keen on batter then you can crumb the fish in panko or even grill it. If going down the grilling route then pick fish like salmon or tuna.
Just remember though - fresh is best. Oh, and fresh oil too at the correct temp. More on that later!
Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil - What makes the best crispy fish sandwich?
So it's later 😉 and I thought I'd discuss oil.
Vegetable Oil - the preferred choice for fish n chips shops and restaurants serving fried fish. It's more cost effective, has a longer cooking life and a higher smoke point. No wonder it's mainly used. Smoke point = 210 - 260c
Olive Oil - At home I use TONS of olive oil and often like to fry my food in it. Yes, it's more expensive but I like the flavour it gives. Olive oil smoke point is about 200 - 210c
What's important with oil and cooking - aside from safety is not to burn your oil. Olive oil does have a lower smoke point so best to keep an eye on it as once it starts to smoke your fish will take on bitter notes. I tend to fry my fish at about 180c so olive oil works just fine. Often I shallow fry it on a cast iron pan. Lower temps (but not too low) give me crispier fish and help retain moisture on the inside. If you oil is too low the batter won't crisp up and it will just soak up a load of oil and well you can probably figure out the rest!
On the note of cast-iron pans it can be a bit of a minefield knowing which one to choose. Do I go big and spend loads or go cheap and have it implode in a year or so..... My friends over at The Pan Handler will give you LOADS of helpful info and/or tips on taking care of your pans. Check out their article on the BEST cast-iron skillets on the market right now!
Batter & Seasoning
When cooking in general seasoning is EVERYTHING. So, when making a fried fish sandwich it's important to season the fish prior to coating in batter and immediately after frying too. When seasoning don't just think of salt. Add things like cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder to the batter too. All of these things can help bring an extra pop to your meal.
There are many types of batter you can go with. Sparkling water which is what is used in tempura batter. Light, airy and crispy. Beer batter which is commonly found in pubs, taverns and restaurants for fish n chips. A little heavier than tempura but good and crispy too. Egg white batter - might seem a bit odd but whipping that egg white up creates a nice and fluffy style batter that almost acts like a pillow around the fish. Baking powder batter - this adds plenty of crunch to your batter so a damn good addition to your arsenal. Water & flour batter - the most cost effective and basic of batters out there. Does the trick but I find it a little thick.
Personally, I am a tempura batter kinda guy. HUGELY because there is always sparkling water in the house and I MUCH prefer to drink the beer over the sparkling water!!
Get yourself the freshiest fish you can, whip up a simple (but good) batter using either beer or sparkling water. Fry that baby up in your preferred choice of oil. Season your perfectly crisp fish and later her in some kick ass aioli. Exhale at the marvel that is you crispy fish sandwich and enjoy!
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Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Friends!
- 480 g white fish cut into 4
- 4 burger buns brioche is my preference
- 750 ml frying oil canola, sunflower, olive
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup self raising flour
- 250 ml sparkling water
- 1 cup self raising flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup wombok chopped
- .5 cup red cabbage chopped
- 1 carrot julienned
- .5 red onion chopped
- 1 handful coriander
Pickled Jalapeno Aioli
- 10 pickled jalapenos
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 handful coriander
- 2 tsp pickled juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Place all ingredients except oil into a mini food processor and blend adding oil gradually until it thickens
- Place all chopped ingredients into a bowl and mix together
- Place ingredients into a bowl and whisk together. If batter is too thick add more sparkling water. If too thin add a little more flour
Fried Fish Sandwich
- Heat oil to about 190c. Season fish and dust in flour.
- Dip fish into batter, lifting it so that excess batter falls away. Place gently in heated oil away from you so that the oil doesn't splatter you. Cook until fish is crispy - about 4/5 minutes. Lay in a wire rack, season and allow to rest for a minute.
- I like to toast my bun a little so it doesn't get all soggy. Place a little aioli on base of bun, add fish, then slaw and drizzle aioli over. Top with bun and DESTROY!!
- chef knives
- chopping board
- mini food processor
- mixing bowl
- wire rack
- you can use mayo instead of making aioli if preferred and add the coriander to the slaw and place the pickled jalapenos or chopped jalapenos within the sandwich to cut out a few steps
- don't forget to season the fish before and after frying
- you can also substitute frozen battered fish if in a hurry but using fresh fish where possible is always best