Beer Batter Pan Fish

When I was 12, my Dad set me up with my first job ding dishes at a family restaurant in Rochester, MN.  From 5 pm to 10 pm on Friday and Saturday nights and from 7 am to noon on Sundays. For this I was paid a whopping $3.50 an hour, but I was 12 so it seemed like I was rolling in the money.  While I worked there I learned a lot about food.  I remember that this place had an all you can eat fish fry on Friday's and people loved the beer battered fish.  I was never that big of fan of there beer batter it was to thin and didn't really taste like anything, now that I am older I know why.  They used Old Milwaukee in there beer batter, I know this because I used to sneak into the cooler and help my self to a couple of beers during my shifts.  A good beer batter needs to use the right beer to help enhance the flavor.  Old Mil doesn't enhance anything, I have had all kinds of beer batters made with every different kind of beer you can imagine, some good, some not so good.  The beer that you choose should be pleasant to the drink but shouldn't be so powerful that it overwhelms the fish.

Home Made Tartar Sauce

I am not typically a beer batter guy, I prefer a simple bread crumb or cracker crumb coating for my fish.  I think that's because I have never had a truly delicious beer batter.  That all changed the other day simply by accident.  My wife wanted fish and chips for lunch so I got the ingredients I needed and went to town.  I had a few bottles of New Hollands Full Circle Kolsch style beer in the fridge and thought I would use that.  As it turned out it was, in my opinion the perfect beer for a beer batter.  It didn't over power the fish but you could definitely taste the beer, it was the perfect balance of malt and not to much hops.  It was exactly what I have wanted in a beer batter.

I had a few Bullhead fillets mixed in with some of the pan fish and thought I would try them as well and was pleasantly surprised at how wonderful they tasted.  All of these fish were caught in Leech lake in northern Minnesota and I believe this proved to me that pretty much anything I catch out of Leech lake is eatable.  And the really delicious batter didn't hurt.

My Beer Batter
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
enough beer to make the batter as thick or thin as you want it.
1 egg white whisked to medium white peaks
fold the egg into the batter mixture right before you fry the fish.