There is little in our culinary world that comes close to a ‘just out of the pan’ fried fish. Whenever I get the aroma of freshly fried fish I am automatically transported back to one of my most unforgettable meals. I was twenty, standing alone on the quayside of the Bosphorus River in Istanbul. It was my first overseas trip, it was Christmas day, I had bronchitis and was feeling desperately alone and dreadfully homesick … until I came across a boat filled with Turkish fisherman, unloading their catch. At the back of their boat, they were braaiing fresh fish and selling this on a bread roll with onion rings and a beer. A few minutes later I was munching on this simple meal and all of a sudden, I was lonely no more. I shall never forget that day, nor the happiness I suddenly felt sitting on a bench, eating a simple take-away.
I recently made my own beer-battered fresh fish and onions. It is a simple recipe. Take one cup of self-raising flour, 1 cup of beer and a large pinch of salt and voila! There you have it.
Just so you know I did not place the onion rings in ice before tossing them in the batter – as the batter tends not to stick properly… the trick with the batter is to ensure that all your ingredients are dry before dipping it in the batter.
Fish and onion rings in beer batter
250 ml self-raising flour
250 ml beer
2.5 ml salt
4 hake pieces, patted dry with a paper towel
2 big onions, peeled and sliced into rings (not washed nor placed in ice)
Oil for deep-frying
4 bread rolls
Mix the flour, beer and salt. Dip both the fish and the onion rings in the beer batter to ensure they are well coated in batter, fry until brown and crisp. Sprinkle with Maldon salt and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve on a freshly baked bread roll with an ice-cold beer. Enjoy!