Beer battered fish is a classic found in pubs and restaurants all around the world! While the beer batter recipe ensures an incredibly crispy coating, the fresh homemade tartar sauce lightens up this pub-style fare! Use catfish like we did or substitute it with your favorite white fish!
The lakes of the Ozark mountains, our home for the summer, are a popular spot for fishing — especially for catfish! And I decided the abundant supply of local catfish provided the perfect opportunity to try making pub-style beer battered fish at home! Although the catfish in this recipe can be replaced with any type of white fish, I highly recommend using this beer batter recipe — it produces an exceptionally light and crunchy exterior!
I love crispy textures in my food, which is why I wanted to get as much crunch out of the batter as I could! Beer batter is one of the most popular types of batter specifically for that reason! There are a few different theories about why beer improves the texture. Some claim that carbonation plays a hand. Others point to the foaming agents contained in the beer. Sometimes an argument is made that alcohol evaporates faster than water and that gives the beer batter more bubbles. Although I cannot say I was convinced by one particular theory, I do agree that batter with the addition of beer results in the ultimate crunch!
But I don’t rely solely on beer to provide the effect I’m looking for. In my search for a combination that would give me the desired crunch I tried a few different ingredients. While some use eggs in their batter, I found that it produces a heavier and doughier texture. I get the best results when using a mixture of cornstarch and baking powder. Cornstarch is known to make food crunchier, although it also produces a harder crust. This is where the baking powder comes in — when it hits hot oil it produces a lot of bubbles that expand the crust, making it light and airy!
frying battered fish
Deep frying battered fish is easy! I start by cutting the fish fillets into long pieces about 4 x 1.5 inches (10 x 4 cm). Then I pick a saucepan that’s just large enough to fry several pieces at once — frying more than that can lower the temperature of the oil too much. I usually pour about an inch (2.5 cm) of oil, which is usually enough for the fish to float — although the crust will increase considerably with baking powder in the batter! Finally, after frying the fish I place it on a wire rack to drip off any excess oil without getting soggy.
Beer battered fish and tartar sauce are one of the most popular pairings here in the US. Tartar sauce, with its light and fresh flavor, contrasts nicely with the salty and savory fish. Below I’ve shared one of my favorite Czech-style tartar sauces, which includes just mayo, onion and pickles!Print
For more seafood recipe inspiration, make sure to check out these posts!