Intro: How to Host a Fish Fry
Welcome to my oil party... and I don't mean the essential oil kind.* I'm talking about a good ol' Fish Fry, where everything is made with oils, and the calories don't matter. This is a topic kind of lacking on the internet. "I want a fish fry, but I what do I cook? What are the must have recipes? How do I even fry fish and how much do I make?!" This Instructable will show you how to throw an EASY fish fry. This isn't going to be your grandma's Southern cooking, and it sure isn't gonna be healthy, but it's gonna be good.
Fish Fry Rule #1 (really, the only rule): don't worry too much about timing your food perfectly. The best fish fries are an eat-as-it's-cooked type deal. When the Oreos are done, eat. When the hush puppies come out of the fryer, wait for them to cool, eat. It's totally normal for people to stand around the fryer grabbing whatever fried food comes out next. Do not try to cook all the food and keep it warm so people can eat their fried Oreos with their french fries (Note: to get all that food on one plate in the next step, most of it was cold).
*Not a knock against essential oils, as you will likely need them to make your house smell better if you host your fish fry inside.
Step 1: The Menu
First and foremost, these recipes are the staples of a fish fry. Furthermore, to show the variety of oil cooking applications, all the recipes included are made with different types of oils or mainly oil-based products, like mayo.
- Fish - Peanut Oil
- French Fries - Peanut Oil
- Hush Puppies - Vegetable & Peanut Oil
- Coleslaw - Soybean Oil (Mayo)
- Mint Sweet Tea - Mint Leaves Oil
- Fried Oreos - Vegetable & Peanut Oil
- Peach Crisp - Coconut Oil
- Mayo Relish Fish Dip - Soybean Oil (Mayo)
- Homemade Ranch - Soybean Oil (Mayo)
The order of the food steps is the order I recommend making the recipes. For example, get the coleslaw, peach crisp, condiments, and tea made early, whereas the fish and fries are prepared last.
Step 2: Coleslaw - Soybean Oil
The first fish fry "must have" is coleslaw. That's in quotes because WE don't have coleslaw at our fish fries, but they are generally desired so that not ALL the food is fried. Bah humbug. This is something you can make the night before the fry so that all flavors get a chance to combine. Since the veggies are sitting in liquid for many hours, I like to prep the coleslaw first by pulling the water out using salt and sugar. This helps the veggies maintain their crispiness!
- 1 lb package Coleslaw mix
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ kosher salt
- 1 cup mayo
- 1/3 cup whole milk or light cream
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2-3 TBSP white vinegar
- 3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup & 2 TBSP white sugar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp seasoning salt (or white salt if not available)
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Prep: Pour the coleslaw mix into a strainer and place in the sink. Sprinkle with ½ cup of the sugar and ¼ cup of the kosher salt and lightly toss. Let sit for 5 minutes to draw out the moisture from the cabbage and then rinse well with cold water. Spin the coleslaw mix in a salad spinner and place in a large bowl.
- Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.
- Blend: Pour dressing over coleslaw and mix. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and store in fridge for (preferably) 8 hours.
Step 3: Peach Crisp - Coconut Oil
A southern fish fry isn't complete without a peach pie. But here I am, trying to make this as easy as possible for you, so I made a peach crisp. A crisp just has a fruit filling and is topped with a rolled oat/sugar crumble topping. No pie crust. Very easy. To make it even easier, I used canned peaches instead of fresh sliced peaches. On a side note... using coconut oil in this dessert recipe makes it.. healthy... right?
- 5 cups sliced peaches (I use one large and one small can of peaches in syrup, drained)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 1/2 TBSP coconut oil
Optional: whipped cream or ice cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease an 8 inch (square or round) baking dish with coconut oil.
- In a bowl, gently mix the peaches with the flour, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, place all topping ingredients in a large bowl and mix.
- Drop the filling into the baking dish and top with the crumbly topping
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly.
- Remove from the oven and cool before serving with ice cream or whipped cream.
Step 4: Mint Sweet Tea - Mint Oil
When you're having a fish fry, you're going to need some drink basics: Lemonade. Beer (if you like). Tea. And there is nothing, and I mean nothing, more refreshing than mint tea. You can obviously use less or no sugar, but Southern tea is sweet, and the sweetness completely complements the mint.
- 2 family-sized tea bags
- Mint sprigs, washed
- 1 cup sugar
- Add teabags, water, and mint sprigs to a small saucepan. Turn stove on high.
- When boiling, turn stove off and let cool.
- After seeping for 30 minutes or so, remove teabags and sprigs and stir in sugar.
- Pour tea over ice in pitcher and fill pitcher up to desired water level (more water = less strong).
Step 5: Homemade Ranch - Soybean Oil (Mayo)
This is not a necessary step for a fish fry. This is a necessary step in life. Have a ranch lover in your life? Make them this. This is the ranch they love at pizza restaurants. This is "the good ranch." I dip my hush puppies and french fries in this during a fish fry.
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup mayo
- Buttermilk ranch seasoning packet
- Mix ingredients in small bowl until blended.
- Set in fridge for at least 30 minutes before eating.
- Share with friends who love ranch.
Step 6: Mayo Relish Fish Dip - Soybean Oil
Some people like ketchup. Some people like tartar sauce. Want an easy and awesome fish dip? Mayo and relish. We use a homemade zucchini relish - tastes like bread and butter pickles - that will be coming out on Instructables soon. It absolutely is the best hidden gem of the fish fry.
- 2 cups mayo
- 1/2 to 1 cup relish
- Combine ingredients in small bowl, starting with less relish and adding until desired ratio.
- Let rest in fridge.
Step 7: Fried Oreos - Vegetable & Peanut Oil
Now this is just a fun side recipe. If you're going to have kids at your fish fry, this is a yummy snack to fry before you start cooking the savory foods. Yes, dessert before dinner. You don't want fish-tasting fried Oreos.
- 1 cup pancake mix
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tsp vegetable oil, to thin batter
- 1 package of Oreos (or cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie)
- Heat fryer to 375 degrees.
- Mix all ingredients together, except for Oreos, until smooth.
- Toss a couple cookies into the batter at once, flip around with a fork, and quickly (and carefully!) drop cookies into the hot oil. Do not sit the cookies on the frying basket with no oil covering the bottom or they will stick. Only cook 4-5 at a time so the fryer isn't overcrowded.
- Cook until golden brown. This could be 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
- Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Sift with powdered sugar if desired.
Step 8: Hush Puppies - Vegetable & Peanut Oil
This is one of the most ingredient-heavy, labor-intensive recipes in your fish fry. But you have to have hush puppies, right? Those corn-tasting bread balls with loads of crusty edges? Yes.
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of baking soda
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Mix well, and set aside.
- Dissolve soda in buttermik in a small mixing bowl. Add egg, onion, and oil, and stir well. Add to dry ingredients, and mix well.
- Drop batter by tablespoonfuls into deep, hot oil (375°), cooking only a few at a time. Fry until golden brown. Drain well on paper towels.
Step 9: Fish - Peanut Oil
Enough with all the sides, we have bigger fish to fry! Yes, you can make your own fish breading. It would be classic. But you know what tastes great? Zatarain's Fish-Fri. I'm kind of embarrassed to say it, but the coating is light and crispy and perfect.
- 1-2 lbs fish per person - here's a list of our favorite fish to fry:
- Channel catfish
- Red Fish
- Red Snapper
Basically any white fish fries well, where fish like Salmon or Tuna do better grilled.
Instructions: (the fryer is still on at 375 degrees)
- Whether caught or bought check for any bones and cut away anything unappetizing.
- Cut everything into equal sized pieces as you go. (The more equal your pieces are, the more evenly they will cook.)
- Rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
- Add 10-14 pieces to a bag with a generous amount of breading.
- Close the bag and shake until each piece of fish is evenly coated.
- Raise the fryer tray and add the fish, making sure they don't mound. Unlike hushpuppies and fried Oreos, you don't want to just drop the fish in; you want to make sure all pieces cook the same amount of time.
- Lower fryer tray and cook 4 minutes until golden brown.
- Raise tray, strain oil, and remove fish to a plate with paper towels.
Step 10: French Fries - Peanut Oil
The last thing you want to fry are the french fries, or some other starchy food. The reason is the french fries will "clean" out your oil, so you can store it and use it again, without it having a strong fish smell! Note: this only works with peanut oil.
- Seasoned french fries
Instructions: (fryer still at 375 degrees)
- Lift fryer basket and add french fries.
- Drop basket down and cook for 4 to 4.5 minutes.
- Lift basket, empty fries onto a paper toweled plate.
Second Prize in the