Fried Beer Battered Haddock with Apple Cranberry Slaw Tacos
Haddock is one of the quintessential white flaky fish that has helped build the fame of the New England Seafood Industry. Growing up in Syracuse, New York, haddock was always in high demand at local restaurants and fish fries. I vividly remember lines out the door during the height of winter in frigid temperatures as loyal customers would wait for their haddock fillets from Boston. We were no exception, as haddock often graced our table during holidays and gatherings as it was a family favorite.
Fried Haddock is one of the primary ways to enjoy this fish year round. Whether it is for fish n' chips or tacos, we love a light and crispy beer batter that is cooked to perfection and golden brown. We have tried many different batters but have come to absolutely adore Gordon Ramsay's as its quick to make, adheres to the fillets for proper frying, and in the end delicious. Others that we have tried are sometimes too thick where it feels like there is barely any fish inside or have a hard time sticking to the fillet which makes for a messy kitchen.
To start, trim your haddock into the size you hope it will be when it comes time to enjoy. Frying a whole fillet of haddock is possible, but difficult and messy if you are just starting out. We typically cut our whole fillet into portion size pieces (3 ounces, we typically trim till there are 5-6 haddock fillets). Next, salt your haddock to firm up the fillets and remove any excess moisture. The goal is to ensure the fillets are dry when it comes time to coat them with flour as a wet piece of haddock can destroy a batter.
Next, heat your vegetable oil in your frying pan to 300 degrees (takes 6-8 minutes to heat up on the stove top). We typically use a deep frying pan that is about three inches in height. We fill it approximately 60-70% with oil so the fillets can cook properly. At this time in the cooking process, one topic to highlight is safety. 300 degree vegetable oil can cause severe burns, please use extreme caution when handling the pan and if there are kids in the kitchen. The oil will tend to splatter when the fish is laid into the pan and can cause burns if caution is not used.
While the salt is doing its job and the oil is coming up to temperature, it is time to make your beer batter. The name of the game for the batter is selecting the beer of your choice and ensuring the mixture has the right consistency. What you are aiming for is a pancake-like consistency that will slowly run off the haddock when there is excess. Combine the flour, rice flour, baking powder, seltzer, beer, salt, and sugar. For beer, we use Cape Cod Beer's Beach Blond Ale which nails it each time for us as we tend to like a lighter batter. Feel free to experiment and use a beer that fits your pallet, it may take 2-3 times to find your perfect fit. Whisk together the ingredients and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. A little tip, the longer you let it sit, the crispier the fish will be, some even let their batters sit overnight.
Once ready to coat, pat dry your haddock fillets one final time and run them through your seasoned flour making sure to tap off an excess. The first coat of flour helps the beer batter adhere better to the haddock. Next, submerge the fillets in your beer batter and coat thoroughly. Once complete, remove and let the excess batter run off. Carefully place your battered fillets into the hot oil, setting them in away from you to prevent any burns. To prevent the fillets from sticking to the bottom of the pan, slowly wiggle the pan so the the haddock moves back and forth ever so slightly (use extreme caution). Fry for two minutes on each side and remove. The color of the batter will be your prime indicator on when the fish is done (looking for golden brown). Lay them on either a wire rack or in a dish with paper towels to remove any excess oil.
For toppings, we love adding a seasonal slaw to our fish tacos. During the fall, we shared our kale and butternut squash mixture. Since we are in winter, we are going with a Local Cranberry Apple Slaw that is wholesome in taste and sweet. If you are enjoying your haddock fish n' chips style, a side of sweet potatoes, coleslaw, or salad go great. Do not forget your tartar or other dipping sauces to help elevate the dish. One final tip, if any leftover fillets remain, they stay great in the fridge for a meal the next day.
We hope the overview of this recipe helps you become more confident in preparing fried haddock in the comfort of your own home. It is a fun meal to have with your family and share with loved ones as its so versatile. Enjoy!
Source & Inspiration: Gordon Ramsay
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 40 mins
- 1 lb Haddock
- 1 ¼ Cup All Purpose Flour (for batter)
- ¾ Cup Rice Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt (plus more to season)
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- ½ Cup Seltzer Water (Plain)
- ¾ Cup Beer of Your Choice
- Vegetable Oil
- ½ Cup All Purpose Flour (For Seasoned Flour Mixture)
- Salt and Pepper for Seasoned Flour Mixture
Cranberry Apple Slaw
- 1 Cup Greek Yogurt (Plain)
- 1 Cup Cranberries
- ¼ Cup Honey
- 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 ¼ Whole Apple (Granny Smith)
- 1 ¼ Small Head of Cabbage (Savoy)
- ½ Yellow Onion
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- 6 Soft Shell Tacos
- Trim your haddock fillet to portion sizes and salt. Let rest to remove any excess moisture. Lightly pat dry.
- Heat vegetable oil in pan to 300 degrees, it will take 6-8 minutes. (use a kitchen thermometer to check). On the stove top we typically keep our gauge at a medium setting or just slightly above. We fill the deep frying pan about 60-70 percent with vegetable oil (2 inches).
- Prepare your beer batter by combining the wet and dry ingredients (flour, rice flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, seltzer, and beer). Whisk together vigorously and let stand for 10-15 minutes. You are aiming for a pancake-like consistency. If you need to add a little more beer or flour to help achieve that consistency, please do.
- Mix together flour, salt, and pepper for your pre-coating activities. This will help the beer batter better adhere to the fish.
- Once the pan is heated and batter has set, pat dry your haddock one final time. Then, run them through your seasoned flour mixture and lightly tap off any extra. Next, submerge the fillets into your beer batter and thoroughly coat. Remove them and let any excess drip off. Once the dripping has stopped, place your battered fillets into the hot vegetable oil. Ensure to lay them into the pan away from you. Very lightly, move the pan back and forth to wiggle the fillets in the pan so they do not adhere to the bottom (use caution).
- Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of your fillet. Your queue is the color of the crispy batter, you are aiming for golden brown. Once complete, remove from the pan and let dry on a wire rack or plate with napkins to absorb excess oil.
Cranberry Apple Slaw
- Boil your raw cranberries for 6-8 minutes until their skins "pop" and they can be mashed. Remove from pan with a strainer and let cool. Once cooled, mash them together into a jam like consistency.
- Chop your apple, cabbage, and onion and mix together in a bowl. Once cranberries are mashed, place into this bowl as well.
- In a separate bowl, combine greek yogurt, honey, salt, pepper, and vinegar.
- Combine the wet and dry mixtures and mix thoroughly. Let the slaw stand for 15-20 minutes to let the cabbage wilt and become throughly seasoned.
- Once the haddock is fried, place haddock into a taco shell and top with the cranberry apple slaw. Enjoy!