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Nothing fits the warm weather quite like the perfect fish taco.
In this episode of In The Know’s Cooking Class, Caitlin Sakdalan of Be Fat Be Happy schools us on how to make crispy beer-battered fish tacos right at home. She also gives us the rundown on general fish prep. So if you’re a seafood-lover, take note. But if you’re not a fan, there are a few good starter fishes to dip your toes in the water.
“Something to start with is a nice, light white fish. It has less of that ocean fishy taste. They tend to be a little lighter and flakier,” she recommends.
When choosing fresh fish at the market, there are some things to be on the lookout for.
“We want to see lots of brightness and color in the fish all throughout from the gills and the eyes to the body,” Sakdalan advises. “When you get home, you shouldn’t keep it in the refrigerator for more than one to two days before cooking.”
To kick off the recipe, Sakdalan prepares the beer batter mix.
“I actually used pancake mix for our beer batter. It helps add that lightness and that fluffiness to our batter,” she says.
Sakdalan whisks two cups of pancake mix, one cup of beer and one egg together.
“Adding beer to our batter is a great foaming agent,” she explains. “It has carbon dioxide that adds bubbles to give that nice crispy texture for our fish taco.”
Sakdalan lets the batter sit for 15 minutes and in the meantime, seasons the halibut with salt and pepper. Each piece of fish is cut into half an inch wide pieces.
“Before we add our fish to our batter, we’re going to dip it into flour. This is going to add another level of crispness to our fish,” she says.
After fully coating the fish, she places it directly into a pot of hot oil with a temperature of about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
“A tip to know when you’re cooking your fish is that you don’t want to overcrowd your pot,” she explains. “What happens when you put cold or room temperature food directly into your pot, it drops the temperature of your oil.”
Next, she cooks a couple of pieces at a time, for about four to five minutes each.
“To avoid overcooking fish we want to make sure that the fish has an internal temperature of 140 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. A good tell-tale sign is when the fish’s thickest part has a nice flakey texture,” she says.
For an accompanying condiment, Sakdalan makes a quick crema sauce. She mixes sour cream, a splash of hot sauce, and a bit of lime juice. Finally, it’s time to assemble the tacos.
She spreads the crema onto a warm tortilla, adds a piece of fried fish, then tops it with shredded cabbage, salsa verde, cilantro and a fresh spritz of lime.
“This is super simple and easy to make at home and I hope you get to enjoy it. Maybe on a taco Tuesday with friends or family,” Sakdalan says.
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