MY SPECIAL CRUNCH-STYLE GARLIC BATTER FISH





When I was a kid growing up I liked seafood but not fish.  However, growing up
on the Great Lakes I really enjoyed fishing.  I got pretty hungry out on the fresh
water with all that fresh air.  I often fantasized about eating my catch but
couldn’t figure out how to make fish taste good.  Well this recipe developed from
lots of experiments and came to a final version when I was about eighteen.  Many
people who tell me they do not ordinarily like the taste of fish also like this
recipe.  They are usually amazed that they could enjoy eating fish in any way.
Well here it is.  My special recipe.  It is an extra crunchy style dish so it takes
some sinking of the teeth.  This recipe was developed using Yellow Perch from fresh
lakes.  Use a non-stick skillet unless you are experienced at loosening sticking foods.

1 pound of Alaskan Pollock fillets or any inexpensive fillet you may enjoy
One and a half cups flour
2 cups of water
One half teaspoon double acting baking “powder” (not baking soda)
One half teaspoon garlic powder
One quarter teaspoon salt and black pepper
One quarter teaspoon of MSG (found in the spice section of any supermarket)
Cooking oil and  NON-STICK SKILLET

Rinse and prepare your raw fish fillets.  Drain and have ready.

Then put one and a half cups of flour in a medium sized bowl.  Then slowly add
one-quarter cup of water and mix well.  Keep adding and mixing in one-quarter cup
of water at a time (mixing well each time) until you have added a TOTAL of two cups.
You should end up with a nice watery slurry of batter in your bowl.  Then add in one
half teaspoon of double acting baking powder, one half teaspoon of garlic powder,
one quarter teaspoon of salt and black pepper, and one quarter teaspoon of MSG.
MIX IN WELL.  

Next heat some cooking oil in a large NON-STICK skillet (about one quarter inch deep
of oil).  Heat the oil until it is hot using high heat (or about an inch high flame
on a gas range).  

When the oil is “hot enough” dredge one fish fillet completely in the batter then
hold it in the air above the bowl to let excess batter drip off of the fillet back
into the bowl, then gently place the battered fillet into the pan. WATCH OUT FOR
SPLATTER OF ANY HOT OIL.  You will know when the oil is hot enough when you place a
piece of battered fish in the oil and the oil directly around the fish instantly
sizzles ALOT. Repeat this process with just enough fillets to cover the bottom of the
pan.  After all of the battered pieces of fish are finally in the oil and nicely
sizzling away, only THEN can you reduce the heat to medium (about a half-inch high
flame on a gas range) to achieve a more gentle sizzle. Then “lightly” sprinkle the
fillets in the pan with more garlic powder, salt and black pepper, and a tiny bit of
paprika powder.  Fry the fillets for roughly about 15 minutes on one side or until
the very edges are kinda lacy and deep golden brown.  Then carefully and FIRMLY work
the edge of a spatula completely under each piece of fish to loosen them from the
bottom of the pan.  Do not even touch the fish until at least 15 minutes of frying
time has passed.  The fish should be crusty on the bottom before trying to loosen and
turn them.  Once carefully loosened from the bottom of the pan, gently turn each piece
of fish over and then flatten down each piece with the spatula.  It doesn’t matter at
this point if the pieces crumble a little, just pat everything down with the spatula.
Now fry on this side for roughly another 10 minutes.  Then  loosen each piece from the
bottom of the pan again and carefully remove the delicate fish from the pan and place
them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool.  Once cooled down a little the
fish will become crispier and firm enough  to handle.  The thicker the fish fillets
you buy the more tender it will be.  The thinner the fillets the more CRUNCHY it will
be.  However, it doesn’t matter if it crumbles a little, it is the nature of this dish.

This dish is not well suited for sandwiches.  It is too crunchy.  It is better served
by itself and eaten with the fingers.  Try it with the green onion dip recipe or the
cocktail sauce recipe in this cookbook!  Very popular for people who do not like fish.
I particularly enjoy eating it with Tabasco Brand hot sauce dotted on it.  Mmm!
Excellent served with home made French Fries too (kids love it this way).