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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Home Cooking Report: Frying Fish

I have waited to report on this incident for at least a month now, wanting any remaining evidence to have been long ago sent off to the local landfill, destroyed via the normal digestive process, or at minimum, until the statute of limitations expire.

You see, we are up for trying new things, especially when it comes to cooking. You'd never know it to look me in the gut, but (or butt), I really do want to try to eat somewhat right, and my wife tries to help in that department. So, people always say you should try to increase your consumption of fish and, I know this probably defeats much of the point, my wife prefers fried fish. For some time, we have been thinking of getting one of those spiffy frying machines that reduces the oil splatter and makes for a cleaner fish frying operation.

As it turns out, my wife saw this little video feed from AOL showing some famous cooking guy, Tyler Lawrence who has an easy recipe for Fish and Chips. Again, you won't need to remind me that this isn't the healthiest route to adding fish to your diet, but I'm a huge fan of Baby Steps, especially if it tastes good.

So, I got home from work and my wife had gone out to one of the usual home stores specializing in Linens and Things. I'd prefer not to say the name of the company for fear of a potential law suit, but they seem to have a lot of Linens and Things in the store. Oh, and they always send us these coupons for 20 % off the purchase price of stuff.

It turns out that not only did she purchase a new special deep frying system (have you noticed how everything is a system these days - a wash cloth is now part of a face cleaning system), she had several pounds of fresh fish. I mean, if we are going to eat fish, dammit, we are going to eat a lot of it!

I may have mentioned before that my first job was at McDonald's. I know the business end of a deep frying vat - the seriously solid basket suitable for holding five pounds of Idaho Burbank Russets or a box of about twenty square filet's o' fish, and this sir, was no solid "system".

The idea was functional. Basically, for safety reasons, the basket would lower down into the vat, the top covered and sealed everything to avoid spills and fires, but the fry basket itself seemed really flimsy and cheap. Oh, and the fryer itself was made of plastic. But, we would not be deterred in eating healthy, and I was hungry.

It just so happens that I had purchased this spiffy Tupperware type box during the grand opening of the Bass Pro Shop over at The Rim, that lets you shake your fish in all the bread crumbs. It really is an awesome system, so I was eager to use it for the first time. In cahoots with this Tyler Lawrence guy, my new fry system and a Tupperware box, how could we go wrong?

So, I open up the box to the fish fryer, and the first thing I notice is that the box seems to have been opened before. I don't mind getting the floor model on something, but let's not try to fool me into thinking that I'm getting a brand spanking new product. So I inspected it and it was clean and everything seemed to be there. No problem.

We got out all the ingredients and the recipe called for the use of a beer. The only thing we had at the time was one a Michelob Ultra Light. I'm not sure that was what they had in mind, but what the heck. So, we mix up the little batter mix, we put the needed flour in the Tupperware Box thing, and we load up the fryer system with some good quality canola oil or something supposedly healthy.

Dredge, Batter, in the fry basket - we were off to the races and I was so excited about having some home fried fish, that I had to actually take pictures.
Then again, I take pictures of everything, so perhaps it wasn't all that special. Either way, we followed the recipe exactly and we just knew this fish was going to be a tasty treat as soon as it emerged from the awesome, safe and clean fish frying system.

Okay, here's the deal. This fish frying system sucked. Within a minute or so, instead of the fish getting golden brown and floating to the top, it all molded itself together and welded itself to the fry basket.
Though the fish itself was not fully cooked, the batter had created such a gooey mess of Super Glue, that the only way to get the fish unstuck was to pull it away from the golden delicious crispy crunchy fried batter. A total waste of almost a quarter pound of fish.

Luckily, we still had the rest of the fish and we still had the rest of Tyler Lawrence's special recipe, so we did what we probably should have done in the first place, we busted out a deep fry wok and went to town with it.

I am happy to report that the fish fried up perfectly, there were no resulting house fires to worry about and no harm came to anyone other than the fish.

After dinner, we scrubbed the living crap out of that fryer and I went over the fry basket thread by thread to remove any sign or hint of Tyler Lawrence or his batter. We repackaged everything in the exact packing specifications as we received it and the following day, my wife took the item, fully sealed back to the store it was purchased from.

Upon inspection, the lady was satisfied that everything was there but she said, it almost had a smell of fish to it. My wife said, "Yea, that's why I'm returning it. My husband gets really freaked about using stuff that was previously opened by someone else."

The lady smiled and said, "Yea, it happens a lot more than you know."


Lee said...

That story sounds a bit fishy, Dave!

Larry said...

and by more than you know, she really meant that other people found out that linens and things...type stores...should only specialize in one product that is in their namesake :) lol...at least you got some home fried fish Mr. Stone!! So not a total waste....

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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