This Fish Fry recipe makes an ultra crispy, yet super light batter that tastes even better than your favorite restaurant.
In the picturesque state of Wisconsin, a beloved culinary tradition takes center stage every Friday night – the iconic Friday Fish Fry. This hearty meal, featuring crispy deep-fried fish, homemade tartar sauce, and a side of golden fries, is a staple that Wisconsinites look forward to at the end of the week.
We made these delicious beer-battered filets into a sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and homemade tartar sauce.
Want to try some delicious sandwiches from across the United States? Check out Kentucky’s favorite open-faced sandwich the Hot Brown, West Virginia’s Pepperoni Roll, or a western New York classic the Beef on Weck.
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The Significance of Fish Fry on Friday:
The tradition of having fish on Fridays has deep roots in Christian culture, particularly during the Lenten season. Abstaining from meat on Fridays led to the popularity of fish as a protein source. In Wisconsin, this practice evolved into a social gathering known as the Friday Fish Fry, where friends and family come together to enjoy a delicious meal and kick off the weekend.
Why Wisconsin has Friday Fish Fry:
Wisconsin’s Friday Fish Fry is more than just a meal; it’s a cultural phenomenon. The state’s abundant freshwater lakes and rivers provide a bountiful supply of fish, making it a natural choice for a weekly tradition. Additionally, the communal aspect of sharing a meal with loved ones contributes to the tradition’s enduring popularity.
Ingredients for the Perfect Wisconsin Fish Fry:
- Fresh Cod
- Beer (for the batter)
- Tartar Sauce (homemade for an authentic touch)
- Cast Iron Skillet (for deep-frying)
- Malt Vinegar (for that classic touch)
Prepare the Batter:
Create a light and crispy batter by combining flour, beer, and a pinch of salt. This beer batter adds a distinct flavor and enhances the texture of the fried fish.
Coat the Cod:
Dip fresh cod fillets into the batter, ensuring an even coating on all sides. The beer batter creates a golden, crunchy exterior while preserving the flakiness of the fish.
Deep-Fry to Perfection:
Heat your cast-iron skillet with oil for deep-frying. Gently place the beer-battered cod into the hot oil and fry until the filet reaches a beautiful golden brown color.
Homemade Tartar Sauce:
Elevate the experience by preparing a homemade tartar sauce with ingredients like mayonnaise, pickles, capers, and a squeeze of lemon. This zesty condiment perfectly complements the fried fish.
Why Fry Fish During Lent?
Frying fish during Lent aligns with the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays. The practice of consuming fish during this period has historical and religious significance, making this a popular choice for those observing Lent.
Is Friday Fish Fry a Wisconsin Thing?
While Friday Fish Fry is not exclusive to Wisconsin, the state has embraced it with particular enthusiasm, turning it into a cultural institution. The combination of Wisconsin’s love for freshwater fish and the communal nature of the tradition has solidified its place in the state’s culinary identity.
The Best Fish to Eat in Wisconsin:
Cod is a popular choice for Friday Fish Fry in Wisconsin. Its mild flavor and flaky texture make it an ideal candidate for deep-frying. Other favorites may include perch, walleye, or bluegill, depending on regional preferences.
The Most Iconic Food in Wisconsin:
While Friday Fish Fry is undoubtedly iconic, another beloved dish in Wisconsin is the cheese curd. Whether enjoyed fresh or deep-fried, Wisconsin’s cheese curds are a culinary delight that represents the state’s rich dairy heritage.
Experience the warmth and flavor of Wisconsin with a Friday Fish Fry that captures the essence of this cherished tradition.
Whether you’re gathering with friends at a local supper club or recreating the magic at home, the combination of crispy fried fish, homemade tartar sauce, and the communal spirit of Friday night will undoubtedly leave you savoring the tastes of Wisconsin.
Beer Battered Fried Fish
- 1.4 lbs white fish, boneless and skinless (3 – 4 pieces of fish) cod, walleye, tilapia, etc.
- ¼ cup rice flour
- ⅔ cup all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup rice flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup very cold light beer
- 4 – 5 cups peanut oil or vegetable oil
- tartar sauce
- sliced tomato
- Pat fish filets dry with a paper towel. Cut in half horizontally if desired, or leave whole.
- Heat 2 – 3 inches of oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat to 375 ℉.
- While oil is heating, sprinkle fish filets with ¼ cup of rice flour and a pinch of salt, coating both sides.
- Whisk together flour, rice flour, baking powder, and salt. Just before cooking, remove beef from fridge and pour a cup into the flour mixture. Whisk until incorporated. Don't over mix. The batter should be pretty thin, but able to coat the back of a spoon.
- Carefully dunk a filet into the batter, making sure all sides get coated. Allow excess to drip off.
- Carefully lower into oil. Don't overcrowd, so depending upon the size of your pot you can do one or two at a time. Fry for 3 minutes, flipping after 2 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from oil and place on a rack to drain and cool. Repeat with remaining filets.
- To serve, spread tartar sauce on both buns. Top with a piece of fish, lettuce, and tomato.