Deep fried cod is a delicious dinner to make in a quick amount of time. A simple batter made from coke and flour means that you can even make tartar sauce from scratch to enjoy with your fish. Learn which white fish is the best to use for frying, how to make a killer fried cod batter, and have to make the best tartar sauce to dip your fried fish in.
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One day, shortly after we had moved for my husband to start pharmacy school, I was truly stumped as to what to make for dinner. With the hubby in school all day and me home taking care of the baby and trying to unpack, I hadn’t had time to go to the store (and some of you may know how hard it is to go shopping with a wee one). I had to result to what was in my freezer!
I remembered that I had some frozen cod filets from when my mom had stayed with us and was really wanting fish, but how to prepare it??? Then, it was as if lightning had struck!
With just a few key ingredients, I was able to whip up together a delicious fried fish dinner that is reminiscent of pubs.
The main components to a great fish fry dinner are:
- Great fried white fish (cod, halibut, and haddock)
- Fried potatoes of some form
- Freshly made tartar sauce
With that, let’s get talking about frying fish and making this amazing dinner.
What is the Best Fish to Fry
When it comes to deep frying fish, you really want to look at fish that are lean but still flavorful. I’m a huge fan of salmon but because of where they live, they’re too fatty for a good deep frying fish.
You need to look for what are called “white fish.” These usually mean cod, haddock, and halibut. Cod is a super common fish that is used for frying but using the other two is perfectly fine and you don’t need to change the method.
What I love about cod is that they come in nice thick chunks when you buy them frozen. Of course, when you buy them fresh, the portions could be much longer which would make it a bit tough to control in the hot oil. If you don’t mind cutting up your codfish, I could cut the pieces of fish into more manageable pieces. Not only does this make the fish more manageable, but it also helps cut down the cooking time as well
What Can I Use Instead of Beer to Batter Cod
I’m quite a fan of a good beer battered cod. However, since I don’t drink, I don’t readily have a nice ale on hand to make batter on a whim. I had to come up with an alternative that would give me the awesome batter I wanted using stuff that is more readily found in my kitchen. Cue Coca-Cola!
Now you may be wondering why I have coke readily available in my kitchen and it’s because when I used to work professionally, I would get migraines anywhere from 2-4 days of the week… depending on the week. When these migraines got so bad that medication couldn’t touch it, I would drink a coke and go to sleep. So my migraines are to thank for this recipe… in part.
The key to making a killer batter for deep fried cod, though, is that the liquid needs to be carbonated. If you wanted to do more of a tempura-style fried cod, you could add soda water. Lemon-lime soda is also a great alternative for the batter, especially if you’re making fish tacos!
I must say, this really was a stroke of ingenuity on my part. Using coke in this batter, I believe, really helps highlight the natural sweetness found in a lot of white fish. I know it sounds weird and doesn’t roll off the tongue as easy as beer-batter, but it is so yummy!
How Do You Make Crispy Fish Batter
Nothing ruins this recipe worse than a soggy breading on the fish. It’s just terrible.
The good news is that the crispness is totally in your control.
One really good tip that I learned recently was to let the batter sit for at least 8 hours before frying. This allows the batter to really mesh well together and mellow out before frying.
Secondly is that you need to fry your fish properly and then drain it well as well. Allowing the thick cuts of fish to cook until thoroughly cooked means that you’re going to be frying at about 350 degrees. You don’t want the fish to sit too long in the oil or it will get soggy.
After my fish is done frying, I like to season it with salt and allow it to rest on a wire rack. If I’m frying a lot of fish, I’ll place the already fried fish in a warmed oven to keep the fish toasty. This also helps with a crispy fish batter coating.
How Do You Deep Fry Cod
Let me give you a few tips to make this deep-fried cod rock!
- Pat the fish dry before anything else. This helps the seasoned flour stick to the fish better and in turn, helps keep the batter sticking to the fish. It also helps the frying oil last a lot longer and it’s just easier to work with. Pat the fish dry with a folded paper towel and you’re golden.
- Season your fish before cooking. I know that this sounds a little elementary but honestly, this really is the only time you’ll have to make your fish taste great!
- Let your fish batter set before completely dropping the piece into the oil. This step is crucial especially if you are using a deep fat fryer with baskets. If you don’t let the batter set up before you drop the fish completely in the oil, it will stick to your baskets and it’ll be a beast to clean. Just hold the first little bit of fish in the oil for about 5-7 seconds and then drop it completely.
All in all, I would let my cod fry for about a total for 5 minutes or until a thermometer read 160 on the inside of the fish.
What To Serve With Deep Fried Cod
What goes with fried fish better than fried potatoes?! I know, right.
I know that across the pond, they call the American fries “chips,” but to make things easier on myself, I went for the classic potato chip that we all know and love.
I just started with using red or russet potatoes, slicing them thin on this nifty mandolin for consistency and soaked them in water.
The best way to get crispy chips is to fry them quick but not too quick. If your oil is too hot then your potatoes burn before they’re really done. I like to fry mine around 375 degrees.
Using a spider strainer is the best way to get your chips out of the hot oil without taking too much oil with you. I love seasoning mine with salt, herbs, and garlic.
Fresh Tartar Sauce
I’m a huge believer in tartar sauce for my fish. It’s like my ketchup (though I do love ketchup too). It wasn’t until I was grown and cooking on my own that I discovered how much better tartar sauce is when it’s made fresh versus the stuff in the store never had homemade tartar sauce, believe me when I say that you’ll never go back.
The building blocks of a phenomenal tartar sauce are:
- Perfect mayo (if you’re mayo blows… you’re sauce will too)
- Lemon zest
- Cornichons (sweet baby pickles)
- Dijon mustard
- Capers (optional but totally worth it if you have them!)
I totally understand if you don’t like to make your own mayo but I promise that if you do, your sauce will taste so much better than using store-bought mayo. If you have no idea how to make mayo, I have a quick Facebook video that shows you how to make it!
I highly recommend against making the whole sauce in a food processor if you’re already making homemade mayo because the color bleeding from the green ingredients would strongly alter the appearance of the final product. I just gently fold everything in with a spatula and call it a day.
How to Reheat Deep Fried Cod
Sometimes you make too much fried cod than anyone can reasonably eat in one sitting. How do you reheat the fish while still keeping the integrity of that crispy batter coating?
My husband discovered this and I think it’s genius. We like to reheat a lot of our fried foods in the oven while sitting on a wire rack. This helps keep the coating crispy without altering the taste as a microwave would.
The leftovers of this recipe would make excellent fish tacos or even a fish sandwich with a quick coleslaw!
I hope that you have enjoyed this recipe and that these tips proved helpful in making a delicious fish fry dinner! Feel free to leave a comment down below (along with a rating) to let me know how you enjoyed it!
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Crispy Cod Batter
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups Coke
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 12 ounces white fish filets
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- To taste salt and pepper
Fresh Tartar Sauce
- 1/2 cup mayo, freshly made mayo is best!
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon dill, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon shallot, minced
- 1 each lemon, zested and juiced
- 3 small cornichons, minced
- 1/2 tablespoons capers, minced (optional)
- Preheat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan until the oil pops when water is sprinkled over the top of it.
- Mix together flour, salt, and baking soda. Pour in coke and mix until well incorporated.
- Pat dry fish filets and season with salt and pepper.
- In a shallow bowl, pour a small layer of flour. Dredge the seasoned fish filets in the flour and make sure the whole piece of meat is evenly coated in flour.
- Place floured fish filet in coke batter and evenly coat.
- Hold fish in hot oil until batter is set (about 5 seconds) before dropping fish completely in oil. Repeat, being careful to not over fill the pot.
- Turn fish pieces in oil once golden brown to make sure there is even cooking.
- Once all pieces are finished cooking, place on a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet and season with salt while still hot. Continue until all fish is cooked.
- Enjoy with tartar sauce and chips!
Fresh Tartar Sauces
- Place all tartar sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix together until well incorporated.
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Serving Size4 ounces
Amount Per ServingCalories 580Saturated Fat 3gCholesterol 54mgSodium 1489mgCarbohydrates 66gFiber 2gSugar 11gProtein 25g