Frying Fish

Quick heat of hot oil really seals in the delicate flavor of fish, and if cooked properly (not too long) it keeps fish moist and tender. Batter dipped, dredged in seasoned flour or cornmeal, fried fish is as down-home as it gets.

I generally prefer peanut oil for deep frying, as it has a high flash point (temperature at which it ignites) and a flavor that is compatible with many foods. My second choice would be canola. Neither contains trans-fat, and both are unsaturated.

Fry in the heaviest straight sided pot you have. Cast iron is best, but anything that holds heat evenly will work. Be sure to point the handles toward the wall so there are no unfortunate accidents.

Whenever you are deep fat frying, it is important to regulate the oils temperature. That does not necessarily mean you must continually check a thermometer (I do not always trust thermometers). It does mean you must use your eyes and watch how fast the food is cooking.

Browning should be gradual. If the food begins to darken too quickly, turn down the flame and let the oil cool a bit. If the oil is not hot enough the food will soak it up, making your lunch greasy rather than crispy. Test the oil by dropping in a small bit of food. Oil at 350-375˚F will cause the food to immediately begin sizzling.

Brown on all sides, then drain properly before serving. The most efficient way to do this is with paper towels. Let the food drain on a stack of towels for 3-5 minutes before salting and serving. Remember to properly ventilate you kitchen, as frying fills the vicinity with that deep-fryer smell.

In decades past, fried fish vendors would cool their oil by dropping in buckets of cool sliced potatoes then they’d give away these “chips” to hungry passers by. What’s a chip? In England it’s a French Fried potato. Also in England, a potato chip is a potato crisp, and a cookie is a biscuit, a restroom is a WC and an elevator is a lift. Now you can travel to England free from humiliation … unless you insist on wearing your “I’m With Stupid” t-shirt. Then you’re on your own.

Print this technique

click on a technique below

Frozen Fruit

Frozen Puff Pastry

Cleaning Chicken Livers

SALT OF THE EARTH A brief guide to the rainbow spectrum of salts around the world

A Quick Primer on Buying and Using Fancy Salt

Sriracha Salt

Ash Infused Salt

Beef Cuts: Brisket

Stock: The Foundation of Cuisine

Whole Spices

Yeast Bread Techniques

Using Cardamom


Top 5 Thanksgiving Tips

The Crimped Edge

The Black-Eyed Pea

Super Sprouts

Sundried Tomatoes

Simple Syrup

Sesame Seeds


Scoville Units




Pie Dough

Peeling and Chopping Apples

Pearl Onions

Parts of the Knife and Knife Care



Pan Preparation

Nut Flowers

Muffin Tins

Mise en Place

Melting Chocolate

Making Cheese


Instant-Read Thermometers

Homemade Jam

Ground Spices and Spice Blends

Pâte à Choux

Food Mills and Ricers

Filling Cream Puffs


Easy Oven Bacon


Deep Frying

Day Old Bread

Crème Fraiche

Crème Anglaise

Cooling and Drying

Cooking Sugar


Citrus Supremes

Cinnamon Sugar

Chile Paste and Powder

Chicken Fabrication (a/k/a Butchering)

Carving Whole Roasted Birds




Buying Chicken

Buerre Noisette

Blind Baking

Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit






Adding Alternatively

Ice Cream Machines

Espresso Granita

Knife Skills



Ice Bath


Egg Wash

The Creaming Method


Chopping Chocolate

The Tonka Bean

Simmering vs. Boiling

Whole Grains

Pounding and Tenderizing Meat

Chile Guide

Cooking Pasta


The Cut-in Technique


Peeling and Seeding Cucumbers

Frying Fish

Maceration and Infusion


Vanilla Beans

Ice Cream Freezers

Buerre Noisette



Seasoning Cast Iron

Toasting Nuts

Grating Nutmeg


Internal Temperatures for Beef

Whipping Cream

Egg Wash


Adding Alternately

A Berry Primer