Batter for frying fish

Batter for frying fish

Pastella per pesce fritto

By
From
Venice
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

This batter is ideal for prawnsand delicate white fishes that are likely to break up. Like British fish and chips, the point of the batter is to seal the fish so that it steams the fish inside keeping its moisture and flavour. To achieve the lightest batter use very cold carbonated water and flour, or as Venetian chef Ada Catto suggests use a level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in 1 litre of still water to create the same effect. Ideally the batter should be left to rest before use. Prawns are amazing cooked like this; I thought this tempura-like batter was a Japanese influence on modern cooking but Giancarlo told me that his mother used to fry courgettes and chicken like this fifty years ago.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250ml sparkling mineral water, with 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda added
150g ‘00’ flour
1 teaspoon fine salt, plus more to serve
sunflower oil, for frying
500g white fish, skinned and boned
or 500g raw king prawns
lemons, halved, to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Prepare the batter by adding the water to the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl all in one go. Whisk hard to beat out any lumps. The batter should be the consistency of thick soup; adjust with a little more flour or water as necessary. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for up to 2 hours.
  2. Heat the oil in a large high-sided frying pan or deep-fat fryer to around 175°C or hot enough to make a small piece of bread sizzle when it hits the oil. Prepare the fish by cutting it into bite-size pieces making sure they are no bones left. Peel and devein the prawns, if using, leaving the tails on if you wish. Remove the batter from the fridge and dip the fish or prawns into it, letting the excess drip off. Fry the fish in the hot oil and cook for 4–5 minutes until golden brown. Remove a piece and cut it open to check it is cooked through and then remove the fish and drain on kitchen paper. Season with salt and serve straight away, on their own or with lemon halves.
Tags:
Venice
Giancarlo
Katie
Caldesi
Venetian
Italian
European
Mediterranean
Italy
Europe
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