I first tried this when feeding the staff in a restaurant where I was allowed to go wild and experiment with different recipes. The ginger beer gives a subtle flavour and an incredible lightness to the batter, so I can confidently say that the experiment was a complete success. Ask your fishmonger to remove the pin bones from the fish for you, as this can be very fiddly to do.
400ml sunflower oil, for shallow-frying
½ teaspoon sea salt + extra for seasoning
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
225g white fish fillets, pin-boned (I like hake)
225g flour + extra for dusting
285ml ginger beer, cold
3 heaped teaspoons baking powder
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas mark 5.
Pour the sunflower oil into a large frying pan and place over a medium to high heat. Mix the salt and pepper together and season the fish fillets on both sides. This will help to remove any excess water, making the fish really meaty.
Whisk the flour, ginger beer and baking powder together until nice and shiny. The texture should be like semi-whipped double cream (i.e. it should stick to whatever you’re coating). Dust each fish fillet in a little extra flour, then dip into the batter and allow any excess to drip off.
Holding one end, carefully lower each piece of fish into the oil one by one so you don’t get splashed – it will depend on the size of your fryer how much you can do at once. Cook for 4 minutes or so, until the batter is golden and crisp.
Place the fish fillets on a baking tray and put them in the oven for a few minutes at to finish cooking.
When the fish is done, drain the pieces on kitchen paper, season with some salt and squeeze over a little lemon juice. I love to serve this fish with some baked parmesan chips or hassleback potatoes.