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 Serves 4
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!
Porks sausages + bacon + beer + vegetables – my version of the Irish coddle is one of Rick’s favourite dishes. I am married to a man of Irish descent and what I have learned from our family visits to Ireland – and my husband is that the Irish love beer (Guinness only when in the Emerald Isle) + whiskey + eating potatoes + pork sausages + salmon + they only start a party at 9pm and even if you are around the ripe age of 75 there is still nothing wrong with partying till 4am and passing out on the couch at you friends house if you had too much to drink!! I just love the Irish, it is their spirit, their joviality and perhaps the fact that they are never shy to drink more than me.
For this recipe I have added a few herbs, mustard seeds and some beer and then also added some lemon. I think it’s a bit of modern Coddle and it’s hearty and just perfect in the dead of winter. It is so easy to prepare …everything is in one bowl, meat, veggies etc. So between my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law I think we have come up with a rather decent local version of the Irish coddle! Sleinte!