For fish breading that is light and crispy, never soggy or heavy, adding something fizzy to the batter helps, as does mixing in a lighter flour, like rice flour. For a non-alcoholic alternative to beer batter, try club soda!
Feel free to make this recipe with any firm white fish, like halibut, bluegill, or perch.
I like to serve this up with buttered white rice and a ramekin of tartar sauce made with sweet pickle relish and capers. Short on time? You can cook the rice and whip up the tartar sauce as the fish fries.
When making this recipe, I start with partially frozen cod. This is the trick to getting a nice brown crust without overcooking the fish.
Crispy Fried Cod Dinner
- cast iron skillet
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup rice flour
- ¼ cup crushed cornflakes
- ¼ cup plain dry breadcrumbs
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 ½ pounds wild caught cod loins
- 1 cup whole milk plus more
- 1 cup club soda
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- To make fish batter for the cod, you will need to start with 2 medium-sized bowls. In the first bowl, season the all-purpose flour with salt and pepper. In the second bowl, whisk together the rice flour, cornflakes, and breadcrumbs.
- Slice the cod into 2-inch pieces. Preheat oven to 200°F.
- Pour the vegetable oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. It should come to about ¼ inch deep. Begin heating the oil over medium-high. It will rise to temperature as you prepare the cod.
- Place the cod into a third bowl. Pour enough milk over the cod to cover the pieces then toss, gently massaging the milk into the meat with your fingers. The massaging is important, so don’t skip it. It adds richness and moisture to the fish and gives the best result.
- Combine the club soda and fish sauce. Pour half of the soda mixture into the bowl with the rice flour and stir vigorously with a fork until combined and frothy. Avoid using a whisk because the club soda batter will thicken quickly only to get stuck in it. Add the remaining soda mixture to the batter and stir until foamy.
- Drain the milk from the fish pieces. Discard the milk. Add the cod a couple of pieces at a time to the seasoned all-purpose flour and toss to coat. Quickly transfer the cod to the bowl with the club soda batter and toss to coat the fish on all sides. Press the batter into the fish and set on a wire rack that has been placed over parchment paper. Continue until all the fish pieces are battered.
- Drop a small dribble of the club soda batter into the hot oil. If it sizzles vigorously, the oil is ready for frying. Carefully add the cod pieces to the hot oil. Place in a single layer and do not crowd them or they will not cook evenly. If you need to, work in batches. Allow them to fry for 2 to 3 minutes, turn, and fry for another minute or two. Once the fish has reached a golden brown color, use a slotted spoon to carefully remove them to a sheet pan lined with foil and fitted with a wire rack. They will be tender and can break apart if you are not careful. Place in the warm oven until all of the fish pieces are fried.
- Serve steaming hot with buttered rice and ramekins of tartar sauce.