In Which the Mother Drinks Beer

Apr 29, 2011

Confession #1: I am a lightweight.  This means that a beer or a glass of wine is about all I can tolerate (see: horribly embarrassing episode only older brother knows about – thanks for both providing the alcohol AND cleaning up!).

I do, however, like a glass now and then, particularly if it’s good Pinot or a dark beer.  I like Guinness.   In keeping with tradition, my younger brother introduced me to one of my favorites, Smuttynose Old Brown Dog. I love it not just because of the name (smut AND dogs in one!) but because it is so good.  It’s good enough that if it’s around, I will happily sip one while using another to make Beer-Battered Fish and/or Onion Rings.  Note: this recipe is good for calamari, too, but make sure to ask me for the spicy sauce recipe for dipping.

In England growing up we ate this out of newsprint wrappers.  It’s probably terrible for you but it was so yummy, and the grease made the ink slide off our fingers.  Last time I was there visiting my best childhood friend, we had this and it came wrapped in nice, plain white paper.  Lovely.

Beer-Battered Fish and/or Onion Rings

2-3 inches of canola oil in skillet or Dutch oven

2 Cups Self-rising flour

1 tsp sea salt

1 bottle brown beer

1+ lbs firm white fish (cod, pollock, etc) in irregular pieces

1 big onion, peeled and thickly sliced into rings, carefully separated

Heat your oven to 250 if you need keep fish warm in here after it is cooked

Heat oil in skillet/Dutch oven.

Arrange fish in front of you for easy battering/cooking, with brown paper bags/paper towels for draining

Meanwhile, combine almost all of the flour and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the beer, stirring until the batter is smooth (no lumps, please). Let the batter rest for a few minutes.

Lightly dredge the fish and onion rings in the remaining flour - you must do this so the batter has something to stick to (or, to which it can stick if you are a grammar-fanatic).

Test oil for heat – flour should immediately bubble to top if it's hot enough. Roll fish pieces in batter and slide into the oil in batches. Let each piece cook for about 2-3 minutes; gently turning the pieces with tongs or a spoon. When each piece is crispy, drain on brown bags. Turn the oil heat down slightly. Batter the onion rings and drop them into the oil in batches; remove and drain when crispy.

While the onion rings are cooking, you might want to put the fish on a tray and keep it warm in the oven.

Dip in vinegar or ketchup or, if you are my 3-year-old, yogurt.

No-Mayo Coleslaw (Coleslaw with Greek yogurt)

2 cups shredded carrots

2 cups shredded cabbage

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

2/3 cup Greek yogurt

Mix all ingredients, tossing so cabbage and carrots are coated and sugar dissolves. Let rest in fridge for at east an hour before serving, ideally overnight or for much of the day. Generally I make this while giving the kids breakfast and let it sit in the fridge until dinner.