December 9, 2011
GAME DAY! Beer Batter & Honey Mustard
Game day is a magical time. I'm not sure what it is, but when the Griz play the entire day just seems to sparkle. Living in Oregon I have been introduced to "coastal game days" which involve fried Alaskan halibut, a variety of dips and, since most of the Deadliest Catch guys call Astoria home port, crab. Lots and lots of crab. Oh - and the Ducks, they really like their Ducks here on the North Coast. Today, I am here to pass on my favorite coastal game day traditions to my GrizNation family back in Montana.
Nothing says game day food more then deep fried... everything. Not only does this recipe require very few ingredients, it is basically fool (or drunk football fan getting ready for the 3rd quarter) proof. The last Duck game party I went to was at the neighbors house and it was expected for the women to be in the kitchen making treats for the guys to eat while watching the game. Obviously I was having none of that, but being a good sport decided to help out during commercial breaks. My beer batter is so quick that you can whip it up during a time-out break and fry up one round of snacks over an official review. OK - maybe I missed a little bit of the game, but that's OK it was worth it.
One of the best things about making beer batter is that everything you need is usually on hand: 2 cans of beer (one for the batter, and one for the cook), a cup of flour, a pinch of salt and an egg. It can be seasoned however you want, I prefer a Cajun seasoning mix, but have gone anywhere between red-hot spicy to mellow Italian. The most basic seasoning for this is just salt and pepper, but it can be somewhat bland if you don't have something tasty to dip it in. Once you have all your ingredients, mix everything but the beer in a bowl and then whisk in the beer. A whisk works the best because you want everything to be smooth - no flour lumps.
The beer should be cheep. Fancy beer will work, but it seems to take longer in the fryer and kinda messed the texture up. I have found PBR, Rainer and BudLight are the best options. Any inexpensive beer will work, but it really just comes down to personal preference. I think Coors and Coors Light give it a plastic-y taste, but I might just be too discerning.
Ideally you want to let the batter rest for at least an hour in the fridge, but sometimes you just need to whip up a quick batch which is fine too. If I need to make it quick I'll put it in the freezer while I get everything else ready. You can also put the batter back in the fridge if you plan on making more later on but make sure you toss whatever is left over when you are done.
I like to fry up halibut or chicken, but I've seen steak, shrimp, onion rings and jalapenos dredged and fried up with this batter. If you do meat, make sure it is the correct thickness so it will cook all the way through before the batter burns. I do no thicker then 1" for fish and 3/4" for chicken. The last thing you want to do is serve under cooked meat to a group of people. Once in the oil, I cook them for about 5-6 min (turning 1/2 way through) or until the outside is browned and crispy. Drain on a paper towel and serve!
In my opinion, it should be a sin to serve any fried food without something to dip it in. Recently I have become slightly obsessed with fried halibut and honey mustard dip. I like to make it with about 1/2 a cup of mayo, 2 tbls Dijon mustard and 2 tbls of honey and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. However I have made do with mayo, yellow mustard and honey packets from KFC (I made the boys grab handfuls of them when they picked up the pre-game bucket). Mix everything togeather, maybe add a splash of lemon or curry powder and voila! Honey Mustard dipping sauce! How easy is that!?
Another good dip is mixing sour cream, chives and dill with a splash of lemon. Good with fried halibut or cod.
AND NOW... ON TO GAME DAY! GO GRIZ!!