Frying fish is a traditional way to cook them and big fish fries are common in many areas. Fish can be pan-fried or cooked in deep fat. There are even special fish cookers designed to fry a lot of fish at one time. Many restaurants feature fried fish but you can fry them yourself at home, and they're even better.
Frying — Good and Bad
Fried fish taste excellent and are a favorite of many people. At home it's easy to fry fish because all the equipment and ingredients are handy. On the down side, you often don't have either available to you away from home. Fried fish smells up the house, the added grease isn't good for you, and all that grease is usually a cleanup problem.
Ways to Fry Fish
Small panfish can be fried whole in a pan or deep fryer. Bigger fish should be filleted or steaked to make frying easier. Rinse off the fish or fillet, dry it on paper towels, and then roll it in cornmeal. It's even easier to put the cornmeal in a sack, drop the fish into it, shake it up, and take out a piece of fish well-coated with the meal.
Use one part flour and three parts cornmeal; add pepper and salt to taste. Include a little paprika or chili power for a different flavor if you like it. You can add other things to the coating mix, or you can purchase ready-made coating mixes at the grocery store. You can also mix up a batter of egg, milk, and flour, dip the fillet in it, and fry up a moist fillet similar to what you get in fast-food restaurants.
Make sure the grease in the deep fryer or the pan is very hot, almost to the smoking point at about 370 degrees Fahrenheit. In a deep-fat fryer just drop the fish in and watch it turn brown. For pan-frying lay the fish in a pan of hot grease that covers it halfway. Turn it over when one side is brown.
You should fry fish about five minutes per inch of thickness, so a two-inch-thick fish should be taken out of a deep fryer after five minutes or turned over after five minutes in a pan. Don't overcook fish because it gets dry and tasteless.