The same friend who gives us the peppers gave us a package of 16 perch fillets, and I have a preference for fried fish when we have it, so I thought this would be a good time to use my favorite beer batter recipe, one I usually use for onion rings. It is the world’s simplest batter with only two ingredients—beer and flour, equal amounts. It makes the crispiest, lightest onion rings you ever had and they stay crispy in a slow oven (200° F) while you fry the rest. It seems to me a lot like a tempura batter in texture, light and crispy. I really don’t like an egg-heavy batter that ends up being like a deep-fried pancake around the food you are trying to highlight.
Today the batter goes on perch, and the perch go into tortillas with crispy lettuce and avocado and a zippy sauce.
Beer-Battered Fish Tacos
- Mix equal parts beer and all-purpose flour—I used one cup of each. The batter will be slightly lumpy, but don’t worry about it.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let sit on kitchen counter for three hours. I think I read once that this breaks down the gluten in the batter, but I’m not sure why this is good for the final result.
Preheat vegetable oil in deep fryer or deep pot to 350°
- Put the fish in the batter—I had 16 perch fillets—and take out about 4 pieces at a time to deep fry until golden, about 4-5 minutes. It helps to immediately lift them with a long fork so they start frying before sticking to the basket.
- Remove with tongs and drain on paper towels while frying the rest. Put plate of fish in oven at 200° F to keep warm while frying the rest.
- Salt the fish, or onion rings if that’s what you’re making, after frying.
Fried fish fillets
Small corn or fajita-sized flour tortillas
Avocado slices or prepared guacamole
Cheese: queso fresco or cotija, crumbled
Sauce with a kick: I combined about 2 tablespoons homemade enchilada sauce with 1/3 cup mayonnaise
Do I really need to tell you how to assemble food in a tortilla?
Assembling food well in a tortilla is more about figuring out the order that will stay in the tortilla through eating the whole thing than it is about how pretty it looks in your blog photo. I have found that the prettiest constructions fall apart immediately. I have since become a firm believer in spreading whatever sauce you use on the tortilla first, even under the lettuce. Speaking of lettuce, I recommend that you fall in love with whole lettuce leaves, whether Bibb, romaine, or iceberg, because shredded lettuce is just going to fall out everywhere. Stick that lettuce leaf to the sauce, then add the meat piece or pieces and arrange any toppings, like avocado and cheese, sparingly. If you can lay slices of avocado or tomato or pepper next to the meat instead of on top, that will help in folding up the tortilla.
This particular recipe makes use of small tortillas that are simply folded in half and not rolled like burritos, so something may fall out and you just have to come to terms with it.