Fried Fish in Beer Batter
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Peanut or sunflower oil—enough for deep-frying, plus 2 tbsp
- 1 About 1 cup good beer (anything, really, including stout, but preferably not cheap lager)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Mixed fish of your choice
Sift flour into a bowl, or put unsifted flour in a bowl and whisk to remove lumps. Add 2 tbsp of peanut oil, then gradually whisk in beer, stopping when you have a batter with the consistency of high-emulsion paint. Beat well to get rid of any lumps, season generously, and let rest 30 minutes or so.
Place a deep, heavy-bottomed pan on stove. Fill no more than a third of the way with oil, and heat until it reaches 320 degrees, or until a cube of bread dropped in turns golden brown in 1½ to 2 minutes.
Dip fish in batter so it is thoroughly immersed, then hold over bowl for a few seconds so any excess batter drips back. Lower the battered fish into hot oil. Fry one piece at a time if large pieces, so as not to crowd pan. Fry large pieces of fish for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. (Smaller items, such as squid rings, need just 2 minutes or so.) Scoop fish out with a wire skimmer and transfer to a warm dish lined with paper towels. Keep warm while you fry remaining fish, then serve right away, with ketchup or perhaps some tartar sauce. Serves 4 to 6.