Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Good Eats Fry Hard I: Chips and Fish Recipe Tested

Looking through my copy of Good Eats: The Early Years this morning, my stomach growled as I flipped past the Chips and Fish page.  "Hmmm...I do need to make something for dinner."  I didn't need any more convincing and cod just happened to be on sale at the market this week.  I printed off a copy of the recipe from Food Network's site and noticed the FN version makes a slightly larger batch of batter and calls for double the potatoes.

There was no question I was going to test the recipe, but there was some pondering about the cooking vessel.  I'm cursed with an electric stove.  The two times I tried to make fried chicken I burned it to a crisp and swore a heck of a lot, ... I just don't want to talk about those days.  That's another Fry Hard show anyhow.  My only convenient option was to dig my cheap crappy Rival deep fryer out of its dusty box in the basement.  I told myself that if the fish and fries turn out well I'll finally break down and buy a good deep fryer.

 For once I followed Alton's directions without any substitutions!  Setup was a snap since there aren't too many ingredients and only a few pieces of hardware involved.  I don't have a V-slicer or restaurant style potato cutter like Alton' mentions in his book, so I took care of the potatoes the old fashioned way, then dumped them into some cold water while I whisked together the batter.  I used nearly a whole bottle of Palmetto Amber ale for the mix though only a cup was called for.  In reality, I probably could have used the whole bottle.  Just for quality control's sake, I sampled another bottle for myself.

The frying only required presetting the temperature levels for the three phases of cooking and keeping an eye on things.  I'm still a novice when it comes to frying, so I took some cues from times mentioned in the book and guessed a bit.  I don't know if it was the size of my potato sticks or temperature control issues with my deep fryer, but the chips could have gone for an extra minute (3-4 range) for the initial phase and longer, maybe 5 minutes, in the Golden Brown Delicious phase.  The fish was nearly right on target, despite the first test piece getting stuck in the deep fryer's basket.

Overall I'd rate this dual application a success.  With a few timing adjustments, and a better deep fryer, everything should turn out perfect next time.  It was easy to prepare and cleanup was a breeze.  Just for fun I also battered and tossed in a couple pickled okra as a reminder of the South to go with my last bottle of Palmetto ale.


Jessica said...

You should try this recipe with talapia - my family loves that fish!

Oh, and don't you just love the strikeout font feature? I use it all the time - echos of Jen Lancaster, I suppose, although she might not have been the first to use it. She's just the first person I noticed using it!

Oh, and before I run off to make biscuits (and maybe potato soup, it's a gray "need comfort food" day outside)...wouldn't it be awesome if your blog was taken up as kind of a "Julie and Julia" book, but with Alton instead? I'd buy it.

Jeffrey said...

I like your approach to quality control: make sure the beer you use in the batter is good by drinking another bottle! The photo looks great. I'll have to try the recipe.

One SAHD Dude said...

@Jessica Thanks for the compliment, though I don't know if my writing is that worthy. I have been focusing on trying out a lot more Good Eats recipes lately though.