The advantage to deep-frying seafood is
that it comes out of the oil intensely hot, crisp and flavorful. No other
cooking method creates such a satisfying and distinct contrast between the
moist interior and the fragile, crunchy crust. Lean white-fleshed fish
fillets are excellent deep-fried, as are shrimp, squid and baby octopus.
Prepare seafood for frying by coating it
with something that produces a crust like flour, a bread crumb coating, a
light flour and water (or club soda) batter or tempura batter. Flour
results in a subtle crust that is barely noticeable. You'll taste more of
the fish. Breading and batters make a more apparent, crunchy outer
coating. Tempura batter makes the crunchiest coating of all. If you want
to emphasize the fish, use a flour coating. If you want to emphasize the
crust, use a breading or batter. For lots of crunch, use a tempura batter.
Tempura batter is fundamentally different
from other flour-based deep-fry batters. While other batters are mixed
until perfectly smooth (and perhaps strained) and then given a rest period
to allow the gluten to relax before frying, tempura batter is mixed
together at the very last minute. The ingredients are just barely blended
together (and therefore contain lumps) and so quickly that the gluten in
the flour is never activated.
Deep Fried Flounder
A goujonette is a thin strip of fish cut
from a larger fillet, intended to look like a tiny fried fish. Serve fried
goujonettes with tartar or gribiche sauce or sprinkled with malt vinegar,
fish-and-chips style, as a first course.
1. If the fillets are attached in the center, cut them
apart along one side of the thin gristly strip that runs down the
2. Cut the strip off and discard it.
Cut the fillets crosswise on the diagonal into strips about 1/2 inch
thick and 3 inches long (Those from the ends of the fillets will be
Just before you're ready to fry, toss the goujonettes in flour to
Then toss over a drum sieve set over a sheet pan or a large strainer
to get rid of the excess flour.
6. As soon as they are floured, fry the goujonettes in
370oF oil for about 5 seconds. Be careful not to overcook. Goujonettes cook very quickly. Drain on paper towels and serve