We're big fans of Stella Artois in my family - the fridge is always stocked for a late afternoon beer, but we also enjoy crafting unique meals using a bit of beer here and there for a secret twist on traditional recipes. Living in NYC, I long for the fresh fare of southern California where I grew up. I was reminded recently of my family's recipe for beer-battered fish tacos after seeing Stella Artois' new series "The Butcher, The Baker, The Belgian Beer Maker". Pretty cool how generational Stella Artois is - recipes and stories are passed down through families, and mine is no different! I decided to give the old family recipe a go using the beer this past week to bring some west coast vibes to my east coast friends.
A deep fried fish taco, along with the proper accoutrement, can be pure culinary bliss. The crunch of the fish, the tang of pickled cabbage, the heat of some sriracha, and a fresh tortilla...it's sometimes too much to handle. Fish tacos are one of those dishes that can be made about 100 different ways, but after making so many variations throughout my time in the kitchen I always come back to the golden (literallly) standard: the beer-battered fish taco. Made with a bit of bubbly Stella Artois, an egg, some flour, and a big squeeze of sriracha, these tacos are hard to beat.
I always prefer to buy my fish whole rather than in pre-cut filets. It's WAY more affordable (I bought a whole branzino at Whole Foods for this post for $7.50), and I'm one of those girls that loves to get down and dirty by fileting a fish.
So there's my freshly caught branzino! You can tell a fish is fresh if he has nice, red gills, it has bright, clear eyes, the scales are shiny and still full of color, and it should smell very little.
I wanted to use a nice white fish in my beer-battered tacos. Here I'm removing the skin from a filet after breaking down the fish. Be sure to remove all the pin bones - a branzino can have quite a few!
Before getting dipped into the beer-batter, salt and pepper the naked filet then dip into some flour that has also been seasoned.
Add your Stella Artois to the beer-batter (recipe below, of course). Whisk as you're pouring in the beer so the batter doesn't get clumpy. The last step before dipping the fish is a squirt of Sriracha for a bit of heat.
After dipping the filets into the beer-batter, get them into a pan with hot oil (keep the temp around 350 F). The filets will brown up pretty quickly. I flip them after about 30 seconds, turn off the heat and let them finish on the other side. The entire cooking process takes about 1 minute.
I used canola oil, but you can use corn oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, Crisco...the list is endless really. Make sure to choose an oil that can get pretty hot without burning. If you see your oil start to smoke, turn the heat off immediately or you may start an oil fire and burn down your house. Seriously.
....Ta-Da! A beautiful beer-battered fish taco, one of my favorite meals. No reason not to pair the rest of your Stella Artois with your tacos as a bubbly beer goes great with this meal. In addition I created a pickled cabbage and jalapeño slaw, and a greek yogurt cream sauce to finish the taco off. Squeeze a bit of lime on top and you're ready to go.
Hope you enjoy these tasty beer-battered fish tacos in your own home and start a new culinary tradition of your own. I've been making this recipe forever and it's really fun for me to be able to bring a little bit of home to my culinary life in New York City. Cheers!
[tabgroup layout="horizontal"] [tab title="Fish Taco Ingredients"]Ingredients: 1 Whole Fish, or 2 large filets
1 Stella Artois
Salt and Pepper
1/2 Jalapeño, diced thin
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 c. white wine vinegar (or rice vinegar)
1 small container Greek Yogurt
Juice from 1 lime
[/tab] [tab title="Pickled Cabbage and Jalapeno Slaw + Yogurt Sauce"]**It's important to first make all the sides you want to serve with your fish. The fish cooks quickly and you don't want it getting cold while you wait for your slaw to pickle in the fridge.
1. Cut up 2 cups of red cabbage into thin strips and dice half of a jalapeño into thin rounds. Combine in a medium bowl.
2. In a small bowl, stir 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, and pepper into 1/2 c. of white wine. Once combined, pour over the cabbage and jalapeño. Mix together well.
3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes minimum before serving to allow the pickling to take effect.
Smoky Yogurt Sauce
1. Combine greek yogurt with juice from a lime and 1 large tablespoon of chili powder. Stir well and set aside.
2. When the tacos are ready to go, spread a bit as the first layer on the tortilla, or simply place a dollop on top of the fish.
[/tab] [tab title="Beer-Batter "]
1. Start by heating oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Preparing the fish goes quickly so you'll want the oil to be hot at the perfect moment. You don't want to season and flour the fish prematurely.
2. Once your oil is hot (about 350 F), season the filets with salt and pepper. Dip into flour that has been seasoned appropriately with salt as well.
3. Create your beer batter by whisking 1 egg and 1 cup of flour together to form a paste. Slowly drizzle in 1/2 c. of Stella Artois into the batter, whisking as your go to avoid clumps. The batter should bubble up (it's fun) and then season with salt and pepper. Add a bit of Sriracha for some heat to the batter.
4. When the oil is ready, dip the fish into the beer batter, covering well. Place into the oil immediately and cook on one side for about 30 seconds. The filet should brown up quickly. Be sure not to walk away from the stove as they will burn in a heartbeat if you turn your back. Flip to the other side, turn off the heat and finish cooking for another 30 seconds. Fish cooks very quickly, especially thin filets like a branzino.
5. Using a fish spatula, pull the filets from the pan and let rest on paper towels to collect excess oil.
6. Create your tacos right away! You can heat up your tortillas over a bit of fire on the stove-top too to add a bit of crunch. I like to layer my tortilla with the Smoky Yogurt Sauce, place my fish on top of that, and top it all off with the pickled cabbage and jalapeño slaw, then another squirt of Sriracha./tab]