Summer is tantalisingly close, and aside from the season’s first barbecue parties it’s a great time of year for fish and chips. If, like me, you have been comforting yourself through winter with a little too much baking, it’s a good time of year to replace the chips with a tasty salad. Asparagus is still around, so a bunch of salad greens and some roasted asparagus does the trick, or even just some new baby potatoes steamed with fresh mint and topped with a little butter.
Refreshment wise, it’s going to have to be beer. It’s almost like Wellington’s craft beer scene has now reached critical mass; you can’t go into a bar now without an array of delicious local and not-so-local craft beers being offered up on tap or in a bottle. I went to Beervana earlier in the year and was amazed at how many creations were on offer, and the mixture of attendees. I was expecting mostly middle-aged males, but there was a huge range of people, plenty of ladies included, all there for their craft beer hit. It is a movement I am fully behind, both in and out of my kitchen.
You could use any golden beer or lager for this recipe. Yeastie Boys Rex Attitude or Epic lager are both great. The addition of water makes the batter lighter and less porous, so it doesn’t soak up as much fat when cooked, and ends up brilliantly crisp. Enjoy!
- 1 cup beer (I used Epic lager)
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup plain flour
- 500g fresh tarakihi, sliced lengthways down the fillet into 4 pieces
- 250ml canola oil, for frying
- Place the beer and water in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour and whisk well until smooth.
- Pour the oil into a medium-sized, deep-sided frying pan to a depth of about 2cm. Heat on medium-high. To test when it’s hot enough for frying, drop a tiny dollop of batter into the oil – it should turn golden and rise to the surface.
- Dip each strip of fish into the batter and lift out, letting any excess drip away. Carefully place into the oil. You can usually cook a couple of strips at a time. Flip them over once golden using tongs.
- Remove the fish from the pan when golden on both sides (this doesn’t take long) and place on a plate covered in paper towels. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and eat immediately with salad, grilled asparagus and plenty of fresh lemon.