Saturday, April 11, 2015

For the Halibut

In season, fresh halibut to my ears. One of my favorite meals with fresh halibut is Fish n' Chips. The deep fryer is not brought out often, but this is a special treat for us. The second best part of this plan, is that the leftover fried fish is transformed into delicious Fish Tacos the next day
My choice of oil for deep frying is Rice Bran Oil, even though sometimes expensive and not easy to find in local stores. Rice Bran Oil is oil extracted from the hard, outer brown layer of rice after the chaff (rice husk). It is noted for it's high smoke point (450 F) and mild flavor. These qualities make it suitable for high-temperature cooking methods such as deep frying and stir frying. It is a popular cooking oil in several Asian countries including Japan, India and China.
And what is fried fish without fresh cut fries to accompany? My potato of choice is the Yukon Gold; skin on, and cut thicker than a shoestring but not quite as thick as my index finger. You can cut them any size you like, but be sure the thickness is consistent so all fries cook in the same timing. Also note the timing to blanch and cook will vary depending on their thickness. Fresh fries are oh, so cool served in newspaper cones! For instructions of 'How to Make a Paper Cone' out of newspaper to serve the fries, see page 26 of my cookbook, 'For the Love of Food'.
When I go to the effort of a Fish and Chip meal, I like to use up all the batter, so have ready; fresh onion rings - slice peeled onions into half-inch thick rounds and carefully separate into rings. Another fun extra for the menu are zucchini sticks.

Till next week, Bon Appetit!  
FISH AND CHIPS (Gluten Free Batter) ~ Yield: 4 servings
This recipe is adapted from The Food Network's Tyler Florence and has become my favorite batter for fish, onion rings and fried vegetables like zucchini sticks. It is gluten free, easy and very crispy. 

Battered Halibut, onion rings, zucchini sticks and fresh fries
Vegetable or Rice Bran Oil, for deep frying
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes
2 cups white rice flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder
3 tsp. salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 (12-oz.) can soda water
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 lb. fresh halibut
1/2 cup white rice flour, for dredging
*Onion Rings or Zucchini sticks, optional
Malt vinegar and tartar sauce for serving

Heat 3 inches of the oil in a deep fryer to 320 degrees F. Alternatively, use a deep heavy skillet with a deep fry/candy thermometer for accuracy.
Scrub the potatoes, skin on and cut them into chips (that is, fries). Put the potatoes in a fryer basket and lower into the oil. Blanch the chips for 3 to 6 minutes; they should not be crisp or fully cooked at this point. Remove the chips to a paper towel-lined platter to cool and 'sweat' for up to 30 minutes.

Crank the oil temperature up to 375 degrees F. Cut the halibut into pieces, wash thoroughly in cold water and gently pat dry. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Combine soda water and egg and pour into the flour mixture. Whisk to a smooth batter. Spread the 1/2 cup rice flour on a plate. Dredge the fish pieces in the rice flour and then dip them into the batter, letting the excess drip off. Carefully lower the battered fish into the bubbling oil, don't overload the fryer, and fry for 4 to 5 minutes until crispy and brown on all sides. Remove from the basket and drain on paper towels, season lightly with salt. If necessary, wait for the temperature to reach 375 F and continue to dredge, batter and fry until all the fish is cooked.

While the fish is still warm, put the blanched, cooled chips in the bottom of the fryer basket and carefully submerge in the hot oil, fry for 2 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove the basket, shake then drain on paper towels; season lightly with salt. Serve chips wrapped in a newspaper cone with malt vinegar and fried halibut with tartar sauce.

*Optional: to use up the left over batter; dredge fresh cut onion rings and/or zucchini sticks in rice four and then dip them into the batter letting the excess drip off. Fry at 375 degrees F turning once, until golden brown.

Recipe Adapted by Sally Rae
Photo by Sally Rae


  1. Looks yummy, Sally - shared on Twitter for the hungry folks over there.

    1. Thanks for sharing JP!
      Hmmm, I had a comment from someone who cannot eat onion, said they would fry them last so she could eat the fish and chips...
      I suggest, if you cannot eat the onion rings, don't ruin the oil ...use the zucchini sticks instead. I keep my oil, it can be used again for fish and chips only. Totally cool the oil, strain through a coffee filter or cheesecloth and freeze in containers. Make sure you mark it FISH FRY with the date because you don't want to use the fish and chip oil for any other type of frying. Strained and stored in the freezer, I can reuse my fish fry oil 3-4 times (depending on how dark the color of the oil becomes) before I replace it with new.