Empirically, the best fried fish

Batter fried cod on a roll, with mixed braised greens

Batter fried cod on a roll, with mixed braised greens

So good, this one. I used Cooks’ Illustrated‘s recipe for beer battered fried fish which, if you’re familiar at all with the brand, you know means they have fried fish in every conceivable way until they could say, as scientists of home economics, This is, to the best of our knowledge, the best way to prepare this dish. I will certainly use this recipe again. I will also make the same modification I did this time, and one that, as much as admire CI, they would probably not consider endorsing, which was to fry the fish in rendered pork fat. I processed a big batch this morning, maybe five pounds of fatback, now clear and cooling in ice cube trays on my frozen back porch, so I had a fresh supply for frying, and I was in the mood for a big ol’ fry.

Originally I was going to also make French fried potatoes, and coleslaw, but after skinning, slicing, and grinding all that fat this morning, and then going outside and chopping the ice out of my front walk, I decided to scale back my dinner plans. These greens are some I put up over the summer, and they came out perfect: just the right balance of bitter green, sweet onion, and vinegar.

I buttered and toasted the rolls, like I do, and we ate while watching “Top Chef.” After ice cream sandwiches, I went back and ate another cod loin. It was still crispy.


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