If you’ve never lived in Wisconsin, you’ve missed out on a perennial favorite… the venerable “Friday Fish Fry.” Nobody outside of this state will know what the hell you are talking about if you ask for one. A seasonal favorite served on Fridays before Easter. This recipe also works well with haddock.
4 large russet potatoes
3 quarts vegetable oil
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tsp. salt, divided
2 tsp. pepper, divided
2 tsp. garlic powder, divided
10 ounce ice cold English ale or club soda
2 large eggs, beaten
1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless cod or haddock fillets cut into 2 inch bite size pieces
Cut peeled potatoes in half lengthwise; cut each half lengthwise again into 1/2″ thick wedges, placing potatoes into ice water as you work. Soak 20 minutes to an hour and then drain and blot dry with paper towels. This removes the starch.
In a large mixing bowl, blend the flour, baking powder, 1 tsp. salt and pepper, and 1 tsp. garlic powder. Add the ale and mix until smooth. Fold in the beaten eggs. Set aside for 15 minutes.
While the potatoes are soaking, fill a deep fat fryer or 6 quart, heavy saucepan with oil to a depth of 5-6 inches. Using a frying thermometer, slowly heat oil to a temperature of 325F.
Fry half of the potatoes until they just begin to turn golden around the edges, about 4-5 minutes. Remove chips with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels in a single layer until cool to the touch; repeat with the remaining wedges, allowing oil temperature to return to 325F before adding more. Raise oil temperature to 360F and preheat oven to 250F.
Re-fry potatoes in 3-4 batches (this keeps the oil from cooling too much) moving them constantly until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. Allow oil to return to 360F between batches. Remove from oil and drain; transfer to paper to drain again, place in a single layer on a baking sheet and keep warm in the preheated oven.
Season 5 to 6 pieces of fish with salt and pepper, dredge in seasoned flour (using remaining 1 tsp. salt, pepper and garlic powder) and dip into the batter. Allow excess batter to drip off and then slip carefully into the hot oil. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp, deeply golden brown and cooked through with a moist interior. Remove from oil, and transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Keep warm while frying remaining fish in batches.
Serve with salt, lemon and malt vinegar.