Crispy Fried Fish – AIP, Paleo, Whole 30, Keto
In my 20’s I sure loved a trip to the local pub, where I would enjoy a Guinness or Murphy stout paired with a hot crispy plate of freshly fried fish and chips. Beer battered food with beer. That’s how I rolled.
Nowadays, there’s not so much rolling around in beer-slathered-nibbles happening anymore…but rather in veggies and coconut flour and and healthy fats.
Which I think is sexier anyway.
But! Us paleo-ites are notorious for craving the foods of the good-ol-days where we gobbled gluten and processed foods and guzzled hooch with reckless abandon. And! This is when we need to get a bit more creative with the ingredients we’re allowed and also the techniques we utilize. So! Here are those steps and ingredients to get you a simply deliciously crispety fried fish that will leave you wanting not for ye olde soybean oil and gluten coated fritters. These babies are friendly for AIP, Paleo, Whole 30, and Keto diets.
For a golden, crisp crust reminiscent of the beer-batter-days, we need to start with a dry fish filet. Yep, fish first. And I like to set them out on my counter for about an hour before battering them so that I can get them close to room-teperature. This step decreases the chance of having a burnt crust and a cold/raw center, and will help to create a deliciously flaky and tender-centered filet o’ fish.
After you’ve cleaned your filets, set them on a doubled-up kitchen towel or paper towels. Then top them with another layer of towels. This step is important as it absorbs excess moisture from the fish, which in turn will mean no water sneaking out of the filet onto your batter during cooking. A non-soggy batter is a crispy batter.
Now that your filets are slightly dry and your fish-fryin’-dust is ready to fly, (say that three times fast) get your high-heat-withstanding avocado oil into a cast-iron skillet or ceramic non-stick pan, and turn the heat to about medium high. If the oil is too cold you will get soggy bottomed fish (ewwwwwwwwww) and if its too hot, the coconut flour will burn before the fish is cooked through (ahem…ewwwwwww).
One of these splatter screens comes in handy while frying anything up stove-top. “Hello” to cleaner counters, floors, range, clothes, and goodbye to arm burns from all that popping fat!
Alternately, you can use an electric deep fryer and save yourself from losing the “guess the temperature game”, but if you are seasoned with your skillet and stove-top skills, that’ll do just fine, my dear.
Coat each filet generously with the fish fry dust, and slide gently into the hot oil. You should be able to cook two or three filets at a time on the stove-top, and one to two in your fryer, depending on the size of either. Just don’t get overzealous and overcrowd the fryin’ fishies or they will recuce the heat of your oil and you, again, will have soggety fish. Blech.
You’re looking at about 3 to 4 minutes per side for 2″ thick filets. If you flip the fish over and notice the crust isn’t all that crusty yet, you can turn it back over if you need to. Just be gentle and try to only flip the filets once. The batter can tend to slip off if you’re not careful. I like to use a fish turner for this step.
Allow cooked pieces to drain of excess oil on a kitchen or paper-towel-lined surface for a minute or so.
These filets are superb with the pictured No-Brassica Cole Slaw and also with AIP Tartar Sauce: Mix 1/4 cup of my No-Mess No-Egg Mayo, with 1 to 2 Tb lemon juice, 1 Tb chopped capers (Mediterranean Organic is a good clean brand), and 1 to 2 Tb either chopped up sauerkraut or my Raw & Easy Paleo Pickles. Also, a couple dashes of dried dill and a tsp of dried parsley. And THAT stuff is a staple ’round these parts darlin’.
Enjoy, my friend!
- Wash filets under cool water. Shake excess moisture and lay them in a single layer on doubled up kitchen towels or paper towels. You want to have a little bit of moisture left on them so that the coating sticks. (Dabbing and rubbing a few drops of water on the filets right beforehand also helps!)
- In medium mixing bowl, stir together flours and seasonings well. Taste a tiny pinch to see if you desire more seasonings.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or ceramic nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add avocado oil to pan and allow to come to about 350 F. (You should not really have to measure the temp, as this is shallow frying. Just be sure not to make it too cool or hot. You will know the oil is ready when it gently sizzles when you sprinkle a pinch of your flour mixture into it. If it doesn't sizzle, the oil is too cold. If it burns, then you need to turn the heat down and wait a few minutes to test again.)
- A splatter screen is very useful here in preventing hot oil spatter burns and messes.
- Alternately, use a compact electric deep fryer for more accurate and safer food frying.
- Dredge the filets in the coating, patting the mixture onto the fish a little bit to get it to stick (it can be a little finicky as its a delicate coating).
- Gently slide in the filets one at a time, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches if necessary to keep oil temperature high enough to crisp the fish.
- Using a silicone fish turner, gently flip the filets over after 4 minutes, and cook another 3 to 4 minutes or until exterior is golden-crisped and fish is cooked through in center. Be careful not to overcook or the fish will become tough and rubbery.
- Set finished filets on a plate lined with clean doubled-up kitchen or paper towels. This absorbs excess oil and makes for a crispier crust.
- If a thicker coating is desired, whisk together a "gelatin egg" (1 Tb gelatin plus 3 Tb room temperature water), allow to rest for a few minutes, then brush it thinly on the filets just before coating in the flour mixture.
- Serve with AIP Tartar Sauce: Mix 1/4 cup of my No-Mess No-Egg Mayo, with 1 to 2 Tb lemon juice, 1 Tb chopped capers (Mediterranean Organic is a good clean brand), and 1 to 2 Tb either chopped up sauerkraut or my Raw & Easy Paleo Pickles. Also, a couple dashes of dried dill and a tsp of dried parsley.