College Kitchen: FRYdays

Lucy Nieboer

I know that lent has begun because Shamrock Shakes are back at McD's. Religious dietary restrictions, or any dietary restrictions don't really vibe with the whole "foodmonster" thing I've got going on. That being said, I will take any excuse to chow down on some flaky, fork-tender, grease-on-the-chin fried fish. 

For this recipe fresh fish is, of course, ideal. However, camping out with a big drill and a fold out chair in the middle of a frozen lake isn't really my idea of a good time. There are tons of nice frozen fish varieties that aren't too expensive. Some individually wrapped filets of white cod shouldn't set you back more than $10. 

First let your fishies defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Dry them off with a paper towel, and if you want to, cut them into smaller pieces. Now they're ready for a nice hot oil bath. The type of oil that is best can be debated. Olive oil is healthier blah blah blah. Really?? I'm dunking food into a pan of pure fat. Health is obviously not a big concern. Go for a big ol' bottle of canola — it's usually the cheapest. Heat it up in a big pot over medium high heat. Make sure you have a solid two inch depth for your soon-to-be crunchy nuggets. 

Now let me introduce the trifecta of fish-fryery. Part one: the dredge. "Dredging" is the generous coating of a dry material before it is fried. Dredge the fish in plain white flour with a pinch of salt. Part two: the egg bath. Dunk the dredged fish into some heartily beaten eggs. Make sure every bit is covered. Part three: the (pan)koat. Panko are small Japanese breadcrumbs. They are super light and don't weigh down fish like traditional breadcrumbs or cornmeal. Coat the egged fish in a big pile of panko. 

To make sure your oil is at the best possible temp drop a piece of panko into the oil. When it floats to the top immediately it is hot enough. Serve with tartar sauce, sriracha, ketchup or whatever condiment fits your fish fancy. Happy frying!