Creole Beer Battered Fish Fry

Even if you’re iffy about eating fish, I imagine just about everyone is up for a fish fry. I mean what more is there to say about this? Don’t we all have a soft spot in our hearts for deep fried food? (Yes!) For this version, I made a Creole-spiced beer batter that was really strong, spiced, and flavorful, making for a very enjoyable indulgence in what is really simple, summery, Southern-styled comfort food.

I really enjoyed this–the fish was tender, moist, meaty, and fresh while the batter was zesty, spicy, crunchy, and just…well, really damn good! I used a good bit of coarse cornmeal so that the end result would have a really solid grit and crunch about it while the spices have a distinctly Creole flare about them. Underneath all of this is another major player in the beer batter: the beer! I chose to go with an IPA (India Pale Ale) as I love the hoppy, strong character of this style of beer and I thought it would have the body to stand up harmoniously with these strong flavors, and it worked perfectly. Plus, you get to drink the leftovers, so you better like it. ;-)

  • 1.5 pounds red snapper
  • Dijon mustard
  • A good bit of canola oil (for frying, so enough to cover the fish)
  • Creole flavored Beer Batter
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
    • 1.5 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4-1/2 cup creole seasoning
    • 2 cayenne peppers, minced finely (or 1/4-1/2 tsp ground cayenne)
    • ground mustard
    • dried oregano
    • ground chipotle
    • ground coriander
    • 12 ounces (1 bottle) cold beer, plus more to thin the batter if necessary (I used an IPA and had to use about 1.5 bottles to thin the batter out)

In a large bowl, begin by making the beer batter. Simply mix everything except for the beer, whisking the beer in last. If the batter is really thick and clumpy (more dough like and not drippy), thin it out with some extra beer as you need, whisking it all together.

Skin, debone, and portion out the fish however you see fit. I sliced up some arbitrarily sized filets. Coat each piece with a light amount of dijon mustard and rub it all over. Preheat a sturdy pan with a good amount of oil up to about 350-375 &degF (figure somewhere a bit over medium heat on most stove tops), giving it a few minutes to warm up before you proceed. You can also test that the oil is hot by dropping in a small plop of batter–it should start bubbling and frying right away.

Now, dip each piece of fish in the beer batter. Dip it in and out and ensure that its well covered all over with batter. Let any major excess drip off (but don’t wait too long or it will all just slough off eventually) and then transfer this right into the hot oil, taking great care not to drop it and splash yourself with hot oil.

Depending on the thickness of your fish pieces, figure that each one could take somewhere around 5 minutes. Flip each piece once during the middle of frying to ensure both sides are well exposed to the heat. Don’t crowd the pan with too many pieces at a time as you’ll drop the oil temperature with each piece of fish you add, which would yield a soggy batter and a sad looking fish fry. Sad is bad.

As each piece finishes frying, remove it from the oil with a slotted spoon and set it aside on a layer of paper towels to drain for a few minutes (pat the tops as well when they cool a bit) to get rid of any excess oil. Also, if you have leftovers, obviously fish doesn’t keep for very long, but most importantly, don’t go reheating this in the microwave. Your best bet is to simply refry the leftovers again in oil–you’ll avoid a soggy batter and most importantly, that reheated, one-day-old fish stink.

Now a fish fry is by no means fancy food, so I simply had a side of baked beans with some ketchup for dipping (really, any sauce your heart desires) with, most importantly, a cold beer. Enjoy!

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28 Responses to “Creole Beer Battered Fish Fry”

  1. Meeta Says:

    Mike all three of us at home just love fish like this. I do not make it half as often as I would like to because of the frying – but hey we all need a good fish fry! I love this!

  2. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) Says:

    What could be more “summer” than this? Fried fish is a rare treat in our house. I’d try it with catfish or our local New England cod, too. The batter sounds delicious. Oh, and I might have to add a bit more cayenne, just because I love it!

  3. Ivy Says:

    Wow i can smell the delicious aroma coming from that plate of fried fish.

  4. Sandie Says:

    Now this makes me miss my rural upbringing – growing up surrounded by rivers and lakes, attending a different fish fry every week was just part of life. While I’ve never thought about hosting a fish fry since moving to the city, this post makes me want to go out and buy a giant outdoor fryer and get to busy!

  5. Laurie Constantino Says:

    What a great idea to coat the fish with mustard before battering it. I can’t wait to try this!

  6. DocChuck Says:

    Well, your method sounds great, and we’re gonna try it out.

    So, I broke out the DeLonghi, filled it with Peanut Oil (We never use Canola – don’t trust it).

    I am going to substitute fresh catfish instead of the snapper.

    We will try it tonight, and I will report back how ours turned out.

    Thanks for the idea.

  7. noble pig Says:

    Hey Mike this looks perfect…I think I can taste it from here! Crunch-crunch.

  8. Sarah Says:

    To tell you the truth Mike, you had my mouth watering with those photos!

  9. pam Says:

    Oh my gosh! I have been craving a good fried fish lately!

  10. heather Says:

    wow! this looks delicious! and i don’t even like fried fish! this might make me a believer, though ;)

  11. Toni Says:

    My mouth is watering……I just love the crunch, especially when it’s spicy!

  12. Jan Says:

    Mike – I love that creole seasoning of yours!
    That fish looks so lovely and crunchy.

  13. grace Says:

    aha! perhaps the way for me to get over my distaste for fish is to spice it up and fry the heck out of it! we shall see…

  14. Helen Says:

    Nom nom nom! I love crispy fried fish. I also use cornmeal to coat things like fishcakes – the best crunch ever!

  15. Kevin Says:

    That fish looks nice and crispy and sounds tasty!

  16. Joanne at frutto della passione Says:

    Oh wow, that looks too good to be true! Luckily it is too hot to even attempt frying so I am safe for now!

  17. DocChuck Says:

    Mike,

    We did it last night. Only changes were we fried in peanut oil, and we used fresh catfish fillets (large ones) instead of red snapper.

    The fish was delicious.

    By the way, for deep-frying, a DeLonghi is HARD to beat! Controlled odor, very little mess, easy recycling of oil. We have the older model, the one without the stirrer mechanism, and have been using it for 6 or 7 years no. Good investment.

  18. nina Says:

    I made beer battered fish a while back and it was delicious and light. I must try this spicy version, though!

  19. the caked crusader Says:

    I’ve never had spiced batter like this before but the photos made me salivate (which is always my main test for whether I’d like a recipe)

  20. aforkfulofspaghetti Says:

    Soft spot for deep-fried food? Hell, YES!

    The spiciness of the batter really appeals – think I’m going to give this one a try…

  21. Y Says:

    Damn. It even LOOKS crispy. Very enticing photos! :D

  22. Kittie Says:

    Mmmm….. deep fried… crunchy…. spicy….. fish….ummm…..!

  23. RecipeGirl Says:

    Looks great. I’m always afraid to do my own fried fish (except for fish tacos) but I’ll let you make me some!!

  24. swirlingnotions Says:

    Oh my, oh my . . . I’m thinking hushpuppies would go REALLY well with this!

  25. Food blogs: A masochistic pleasure « WTF? Random food for thought. Says:

    [...] If you’re even a semi-regular at Blue Kitchen, you know we love spicy here. And as much as we try to take it easy on fried food, when it’s done right there’s nothing better [in small doses]. Mike over at Mike’s Table does it right, with his Creole Beer Battered Fish Fry. [...]

  26. Pan Fried Grouper with Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce from Mike's Table Says:

    [...] more regularly eat fish continues, but like with anything, some times, you just have a craving for simple, strongly flavored dish, so this dinner was such a quickie. I was in the mood for something garlicky, so I decided to [...]

  27. CJ W Says:

    Just tried this recipe, it looked great on the pictures but unfortunately my batter just wouldn’t stick to the fish. Very disappointed, even tried dredging the fish in flour beforehand with no luck

  28. Things I like Thursday – Southern & Cajun/Creole | Crazy Jamie's Blog Says:

    [...] YUM! Creole Beer Battered Fish Fry [...]

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