Last week I was given the opportunity to set-up a pop-up/vending stand for Father’s Day apres-bike ride along Toronto’s scenic Don Valley. The event was held at the Evergreen Brickworks and the challenge for me was to step-in last minute to fill the shoes of another chef who couldn’t keep their commitment to cook for Fisherfolk.
Fisherfolk is a family owned and operated business based here in Toronto with roots in Nova Scotia (Atlantic Canada). They only sell Canadian fish and seafood, all seasonal, all sustainable with an eye to selling fish that isn’t caught without creating any detriment to the environment. Joel Solish who also co-organizes of Dead Row Meals asked if I would step-up to the task, I accepted and with delight and set out to perfect my beer batter for frying fish and seafood.
I was given fresh Nova Scotia haddock that smelled sweet and of the sea – perfect! This fish falls in the family of cod fish, delicate in flavour and texture, very flaky. This fish is perfect as you bite into the crispy fried batter and finish your bite into flaky, tender white meat. Peak season here in Canada for haddock is June to October.
If you want the best beer batter ever, use a dark beer – that will help with attaining the golden colour and, you won’t over-fry your fish. Another local company collaborated with the fried fish and the beer batter was made using Amsterdam Brewery (of Toronto) Big Wheel Amber Deluxe. The next component of making good beer-battered fish is the flour mixture: one part all-purpose flour, one part corn starch, some baking powder and sea salt. That’s it!
The temperature of your oil is also important and when it comes to beer batter, you want approx. 360-370F and the best way to attain that is to use a candy thermometer for accurate readings each and every time. You’re going have a light, fluffy and crispy coating, golden in colour and even after the fish has cooled, the fish coating stays crisp!
On sandwich day I made beer battered sandwiches with a tartar sauce made with mayonnaise, some Greek yogurt, capers, parsley, dill, red onions and pickles. Simplicity wins again when you have quality ingredients – let the product speak for itself and in this case, Nova Scotia haddock has a new fan in me.
Beer Batter Fish Sandwich With Tartar Sauce
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup corn starch
1 scant tsp. of baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 to 1 1/2 bottles of cold (ideally dark/amber) beer or until slightly thinner than pancake batter
4 fresh haddock fillets, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
all-purpose flour for dredging
oil for frying
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Greek yogurt
1 shallot, finely minced (or 1/4 cup red onion)
2 Tbsp. minced dill pickles
2 Tbsps chopped chive
2Tbsps chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp. capers, drained and finely chopped
lemon juice to taste
pepper to taste (salty enough from the capers)
- Add the flour and corn starch in a bowl along with the salt and baking powder and stir with a fork. Now add the cold beer in increments and mix with a whisk, scraping the sides of the bowl. Keep adding beer and whisking in until you have the constistency of slightly thinned pancake batter. Place in the fridge for an hour.
- In the meantime, make your tartar sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl, adjust ingredients to your tastes, cover and place in fridge.
- Rinse and cut your haddock fillets into 3-4 pieces, pat-dry and lightly season with salt and reserve. When you’re ready to dry, place your oil in a deep pot or dedicated fryer and bring up to 365-370F over medium-high heat.
- When your oil is ready, dredge the fish in flour then dip in the beer batter (let some of the batter drain off) then carefully place the fish in the oil (away from you). Fry for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally with a slotted spoon until golden.
- Reserve on paper lined platter, season lightly with sea salt. Assemble your sandwich by smearing some tartar sauce on one bun along with some lettuce, place the fish in the bun and enjoy!
*Try this fish recipe and make fish & chips with my olive oil fries.
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