Lake Erie Fried Walleye and Onion Rings

Dragged out the deep fryer and mixed up some more 2-ingredient beer batter. Did that last year with perch, but I suspect people are still afraid of the simplicity of this batter, which I originally ran across for onion rings. I’ve never seen it on the web, so it must have been passed on in a handwritten note or by word of mouth. After all, there’s not much to write down—equal amounts of beer and flour. That’s where people get nervous about things like salt or cornstarch or baking powder or OMG an egg. But as I’m sure I said before, we’re not making pancakes here. We want a light crispy coating, much like tempura. I think I’ll throw in a few onions for garnish on the sandwiches. It’s been a long time since I made the onion rings. A long time.

Today’s beer is some kind of Octoberfest, which I think means the beer is stronger or malty. I know it’s making the batter a little orange-yellow, and I’ll be interested to see what it does to the flavor. The batter itself, even after it sits for hours, is thick and I would say glutinous or viscous; it kind of sheets off your foods, although it works best with onion rings. With fish, just dry them off before immersing in the batter.

I thought hard about using one of my cast iron pieces for the frying (skillet or Dutch oven), using either the stovetop or grill, but in the house, that’s such a mess with the splattering, and I’m concerned about not having good heat control on the grill. Nothing worse that trying to fry in oil that won’t hold its temperature and getting soggy, oil soaked fish. Besides, I’ve got the huge electric deep fryer that works like a charm. It’s just a shame to use a gallon of oil for one meal. I will not re-use oil used for frying fish, unless you bring me more fish tomorrow.

Oh, mercy, if there were ever a day when I could eat another sandwich….

Lake Erie Fried Walleye and Onion Rings

  • Servings: enough batter for 2-3 lbs fish or a ton of onion rings
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

The batter has to sit on the counter for 3 hours, so factor that into the total time. Increase amounts based on your ingredients.

Simple Beer Batter

equal amounts of beer and all-purpose flour—I used 1 1/2 cups of each

  • Combine the beer and flour, cover bowl, and let sit on kitchen counter for 3 hours.

Frying Fish and Onion Rings

1 1/2 lbs walleye, skinned and boned, cut in 4-5″ lengths for sandwiches

2 small onions, sliced very thin and separated into rings

salt, for seasoning after frying

  1. Set up your deep fryer or heat oil in a large Dutch oven to 375°
  2. If frying both fish and onion rings, do the onions first, so they don’t take on any fishy taste.
  3. Slice onions to your desired thickness—I just wanted a small amount of very thin rings.
    1. I took about 2/3 cup of the batter and mixed it with my onion rings. If you’re only making the rings, you could just put all the batter in with them.
    2. When the oil is ready, drop the rings in, using a long fork, trying to keep them as separate as possible.
    3. I covered my fryer and cooked them until browned.
    4. Remove the onion rings to a rack over a sheet pan and place in a 200° oven while making the rest.
  4. Dredge fish pieces in batter and cook a few at a time so they are not crowded in the fryer or pan. I put a small piece of non-stick foil on the bottom of my frying basket to keep the batter from sticking. Fry until browned. Walleye are thick, so each piece took at least 5 minutes to be done. Smaller fish are done more quickly.
  5. Remove fish to draining rack with onion rings and keep in oven until all the fish is fried.

Remember to salt the onion rings and fish as they come out of the fryer. We ate the fish in sandwiches with coleslaw and onion rings on the side.


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