Like many white fish, cod are often fried in a batter made from beer and flour. The beer batter recipe I am using to fry cod is a simple one made of six ingredients listed to the left. As with almost any recipe, this one is flexible in the quantities and varieties of spices used. The consistency must be just right—thick enough to stick to the fish and thin enough that the batter doesn't get too clumpy and thick when fried.
1. Pick up fresh cod fillet(s). There are a lot of fish sold as cod. The cod fillet I'm using came from Alaska, but I have no idea what species it is. It doesn't really matter because it's probably gonna taste good either way. So buy cod that looks fresh and smells good.
2. Cut the fillet(s) into equal portions. Cutting the cod into smaller portions will help it cook faster and make frying easier. If you plan on serving fish to more than one person, it will help when serving your guests. Cut the fish with the grain so it doesn't fall apart easily.
3. Make the beer batter for the cod. Mix the dry ingredients together first and sift them. Then use a whisk and stir in the cold beer. Mix the batter well, making sure to get all the clumps out. You will want to batter the fish just before you fry them in the oil.
4. Fry the cod in 350-degree oil. You can fry a test piece first to make sure your batter is at the right consistency. It will take five to eight minutes to cook it all the way through. Try to keep the oil at or near 350 degrees F for the duration of the cooking time.
5. Drain the fried cod. Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the cod. Once it reaches 160–165 degrees, it's done. Set the fried cod on paper towels to drain the excess oil. Eat the fried fish right away before the batter gets soggy.
Buy cod that looks and smells fresh.
Sometimes the fishmonger will sell cod loins, which are a nice size for frying. They cost a little more.
Use cod soon after buying it. After a couple days the fish may start to stink.
Peanut oil works the best for frying—but if someone is allergic to peanuts, you may be in trouble. Canola or vegetable oil works fine.
If the oil isn't 350–375 degrees, the fish won't cook properly. If the oil is too hot, it will cook too quickly. If the oil is too cool, the batter may fall off or get soggy.
Frying oil can be reused as long as you keep it clean by filtering or straining it.