Deep Fried Dinner

One of the meals my husband likes to make is a deep-fried halibut. My brother is a pretty accomplished deep-fried cook too. Tonight we had mozzarella sticks for appetizers and halibut with fries for main dish. This is simple cooking and lots of flavor. Personally, I seldom deep fry; my husband and brother are a different story…

They make it seem simple so here’s how we did it:

My brother and husband started off with the breading and batter for the mozzarella. I got to work on the tartar sauce. While husband trimmed and sliced the halibut fillets into 1″ pieces, brother sliced the potatoes for the fries. I made more tartar sauce because husband declared I’d made only enough for one person on the first pass. We ended up eating standing up tonight – everyone grabbing a piece of whatever had just come from the fryer, so by the time dinner was done, so were we.

Here are the whats-and-how-tos:
Tartar Sauce – once you make your own, you will shun the stuff from the store:
dill pickle
onion (I prefer strong yellow)
garlic (powder or fresh)
lemon juice

Mince equal amounts of dill pickle and onion (okay, depending on your taste, maybe less onion). Start with about 1 pickle, and a couple slices of onion. And remember, mince. Add mayonnaise – roughly twice as much as what you have in pickle & onion. Mince about a half-clove of garlic (this is a taste measure). Stir that in, then add about 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice and a big pinch of paprika and a little pinch of sugar. Stir well, and taste. From here you should be able to tweak it to your liking.

The coating we used for the mozzarella we also used on the halibut – came out excellent but brother thought he might change it a little next time. Here’s what they did:
panko crumbs
bread crumbs (dried)
egg, beat

mozzarella sticks – approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide – my cheese was in small balls about 2 – 2 1/2 diameter.
halibut in about 1 inch cubes
potatoes sliced in about 1/4 in thick logs

Crumble the panko and bread crumbs so they are very fine and mixed thoroughly together. Put this in a shallow bowl. Then beat an egg in a different shallow bowl. Dip the item to be fried (start with the mozzarella then do the halibut) in the egg bath, then roll in the crumbs then back to the egg and again in the crumbs. Drop in hot oil (about 375 – 400 degrees) and cook until batter is golden brown. Your mozzarella sticks should be crispy outside and melted inside. Frying is not my forte, so I can only suppose that if the inside isn’t melted when the outside is browned, your oil is too hot. If the outside is not crispy, I would suppose your oil is not hot enough.
The halibut gets the same treatment as the cheese. I would give the oil time to get hot again before starting the halibut. The fish will cook quickly and is easily over-cooked, so do a couple test pieces before you commit 🙂
We didn’t do it tonight, but a great side would be cole-slaw.

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