Grandma’s World Famous Fried Fish

For the glutenous world battered fried fish is no big deal.  In the gluten free world fried anything can be a really big deal.  How many times have I tried a recipe that promised to be crunchy, delicious and gluten free?  Often that promise was short lived until now.  Thanks to America’s Test Kitchen those who live a gluten free existence can have delicious gluten free fried chicken and fried fish.

I specifically bought the first of their gluten free cookbooks, The How Can It be Gluten Free Cookbook, for the promise of real fried chicken and crunchy pork chops.  Both worked amazingly well.  The fried chicken recipe can be found on page 147 and the pork chop recipe begins on page 150.  The recipes work but work for different reasons.  The reasons are explained in detail in the cookbook.  I was able to recently adapt Fried Green Tomatoes to gluten free by using some of the techniques learned in the 2 cookbooks by American’s Test Kitchen.

Now for Grandma’s World Famous Fried Fish, those are words from my oldest granddaughter, it is actually America’s Test Kitchen recipes for Batter-Fried Fish.  The recipe, instructions and the why it works covers 3 pages, pages 119 thru 121 in How Can It Be Gluten Free Volume 2. The recipe is simple but does require planning.  The batter needs to be mixed 30 minutes prior to using and allowed to sit.  Why?  It takes awhile to successfully hydrate gluten free flours.  For the full why’s on this recipe, please buy the book.

Batter-Fried Fish

1 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup to 1 cup cornstarch, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
salt and pepper, to taste (A seasoning salt blend works well.)
1/2 teaspoon ground Hungarian Paprika (This is my addition.)
1 1/4 cups plain seltzer
1 1/2 pounds cod, cut into 4-inch-long by 1-inch-thick fingers
3 quarts peanut or vegetable oil

In a medium bowl mix together the brown rice flour, 1/2 cup cornstarch, baking powder, approximately 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon ground Hungarian Paprika. The paprika is my addition. I read somewhere that adding the paprika will produce a darker crust.

Whisk in the seltzer water until combined, this should take about 30 seconds or so. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 30 minutes. The recipe says not to let it sit for longer than 30 minutes. Only guessing, but I think the seltzer would go flat and the batter would become dense and heavy.

Take a cookie sheet and place a cooling rack in it. Use this to allow fish to rest after coating with cornstarch and after frying. Wash the fish, pat dry with paper towels and cut into specified lengths. Salt and pepper to taste, I used a seasoning salt blend. Put the remaining 1/4 cup cornstarch in a container with lid, add in the seasoned fish, cover and shake to coat. Please note: I always use more cornstarch than the recipe calls for. That is why my recipe says 3/4 cup to 1 cup. I would start with the remaining 1/4 cup and add in additional as needed. Shake off additional cornstarch and place the coated fish on the prepared cookie sheet and allow to rest while oil heats.

The recipe calls for 3 quarts of oil. I have a small deep fryer that I use and only fill it to the minimum. I probably use from 1 1/2 to 2 cups of oil to fry the fish and I use vegetable oil. Heat the oil to 375°. Once the oil is hot, stir the batter and using a pair of tongs dip a few pieces of fish into the batter allowing excess to drip back into the bowl.

Place battered fish into the hot oil and allow to cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove fish and place on rack. Allow oil to return to temperature and repeat with remaining fish. Once all the fish has been battered and fried once, dip the fish into the batter again, place in hot oil and cook an additional 2 minutes or until golden.

Serve with your favorite tartar sauce. The book does have a good recipe but hubby is the tartar sauce king in my house. This recipe serves 4.  It requires some planning but produces a product that is amazingly delicious.  It received the highest praise from my gluten eating granddaughter.

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