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Old 03-17-2016, 07:26 PM   #1
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Frying fish - what did I do wrong this time?!?

OK, we're just talking about cod here. The recipe I used was one I've tweaked over the past year and I've had some good luck with it. What I do is take some tempura mix, add ice cold water, some garlic powder, onion powder, a little basil and some parsley. I mix it all up and dip my fish pieces in it, and then drop them into hot Crisco or lard (I've used both) and fry them up. They come out crispy and delicious (and probably way unhealthy, but who cares?).

I used to make them in a Teflon pan and never had a problem. Now I have copper pans with a stainless steel interior and I have to say, I have had little to no problem with anything sticking so far, except eggs on occasion. Today is the first time I've tried to fry fish.

But now, after frying about 3 minutes or so, these fish portions are GLUED to the bottom of the pan! I couldn't scrape them up with a pancake turner to flip them. What I ended up doing was flipping the fish, leaving the bottom layer of coating on the bottom of the pan, and of course the fish just disintegrated.

Is this how it is cooking with stainless steel when you fry foods? And if so, how do I deal with this?

The batter was cold, the fish were cold, the fish were dried off, and the oil was hot, just like I've done this a dozen times before.

Can anyone tell me what I did wrong and what I should do different next time? Or am I doomed to just getting fried fish from just the fast food places in the future?
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Old 03-17-2016, 07:39 PM   #2
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Go back to your Teflon pan?

I know that when I use one of my three ply stainless pans, I have to get the heat just right on it. Too little or too much heat will both cause sticking problems. I never take them over medium heat when working with meat or protein, because that really makes meats of all kinds stick. I've never done fish in anything but a nonstick pan, so I can't really help much.

If done right, the meat will stick briefly, then release, just leaving a few small bits of crusty goodness to deglaze later into a tasty pan sauce.
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Old 03-17-2016, 08:08 PM   #3
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Thank you, yes, I've heard that about stainless steel. If you add a little oil to the bottom and then cook the meat for for about 5 minutes, it releases on its own. I've been doing that with these pans and I haven't had any problems with anything else, even fried chicken. So I'm kind of perplexed here about the fish.

I know with shrimp (when you could still find the kind that had to be fried), you just filled a sauce pan with Crisco and the shrimp floated on top and fried, like in a deep fat fryer (which I don't have). I'm wondering if maybe I didn't put as much Crisco in the pan this time and the fish couldn't "float". So they laid at the bottom and got stuck.
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Old 03-17-2016, 09:11 PM   #4
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I wish I could be of help, but unlike many here, I don't even own a stainless steel skillet. Maybe I could help with a recipe I posted here several years ago though. It's perfect, if only for us.

My "Perfect Fish Batter"
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Old 03-17-2016, 10:55 PM   #5
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Try leaving out the water. We dredge fish in seasoned flour and pan-fry it in 1 tbsp each of butter and oil. It releases easily once browned and is nice and crispy.
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Old 03-18-2016, 06:35 AM   #6
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What was the lard/oil Temperature? I never attempt to deep fry with out using a thermometer.
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:52 AM   #7
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Cast iron.
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Old 03-18-2016, 10:57 AM   #8
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Maybe get the pan hot first then add oil? I've heard that makes a difference, rather than cold pan then cold oil.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:53 AM   #9
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I just received two SS fry pans for valentines day. Calphalon. My wife had no idea what kind I wanted, but knew I liked/owned Calphalon. Had i known beforehand, I might have steered her in another direction.
Never had them before except for maybe the ones my mother used.
I have not tried to deep fry anything in them as I use a fryer.
I have noticed that I cannot use the same temperature I do with my AL fry pans.
Maybe you should walk/drag the fish across the oil before you drop them in.
You know? The way some cooks do it on TV.

I got mine because I was tired of shortening the life of my non-stick pans. Searing then transferring into the oven for steaks worked very well.
So far i have had good success with SS.
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Old 03-18-2016, 08:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
I wish I could be of help, but unlike many here, I don't even own a stainless steel skillet. Maybe I could help with a recipe I posted here several years ago though. It's perfect, if only for us.

My "Perfect Fish Batter"
Thank you, although I think this has more to do with the pan and not the batter.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
Try leaving out the water. We dredge fish in seasoned flour and pan-fry it in 1 tbsp each of butter and oil. It releases easily once browned and is nice and crispy.
Well, part of the way the tempura works is it needs to be mixed with ice water. I could try it.


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Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
What was the lard/oil Temperature? I never attempt to deep fry with out using a thermometer.
I have no idea. I wouldn't know what temp to fry it at anyway. I've always gone by dropping a little batter in the oil and seeing if it sizzles.


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Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
Cast iron.
That's always an option. The only reason I've never gotten a cast iron pan is because I don't want to mess with seasoning it, they're a little heavy for me, I can't afford one, and I really wouldn't know where to store it. My kitchen is really only as big as some walk in closets and I have one cupboard for food and one (small) hutch for dishes, including all the bowls, plastic containers, crock pot, etc.


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Originally Posted by BigAL View Post
Maybe get the pan hot first then add oil? I've heard that makes a difference, rather than cold pan then cold oil.
Now that might have been the reason. I know I have to do that and I just can't remember if I did or not.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Roll_Bones View Post
I just received two SS fry pans for valentines day. Calphalon. My wife had no idea what kind I wanted, but knew I liked/owned Calphalon. Had i known beforehand, I might have steered her in another direction.
Never had them before except for maybe the ones my mother used.
I have not tried to deep fry anything in them as I use a fryer.
I have noticed that I cannot use the same temperature I do with my AL fry pans.
Maybe you should walk/drag the fish across the oil before you drop them in.
You know? The way some cooks do it on TV.

I got mine because I was tired of shortening the life of my non-stick pans. Searing then transferring into the oven for steaks worked very well.
So far i have had good success with SS.
Since the batter is a wet batter, I really don't know if the oil thing would work. This is a little different than fried chicken. This is closer to deep fat frying and I'm wondering now if I had enough Crisco in the pan. I thought I could fry the fish like I can chicken, but I think I may have to actually use a deeper pan and fill it with oil, like a deep fat fryer.


Thank you, everyone, for your suggestions. I am considering many of them.
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Old 03-18-2016, 08:42 PM   #11
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Thanks to you, Rodentraiser. It's always fun to get questions like this where the poster actually participates. All to often it just doesn't happen that way. I hope you find the solution!
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Old 03-18-2016, 08:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by rodentraiser View Post
Well, part of the way the tempura works is it needs to be mixed with ice water. I could try it.

... Now that might have been the reason. I know I have to do that and I just can't remember if I did or not.

... Since the batter is a wet batter, I really don't know if the oil thing would work. This is a little different than fried chicken. This is closer to deep fat frying and I'm wondering now if I had enough Crisco in the pan. I thought I could fry the fish like I can chicken, but I think I may have to actually use a deeper pan and fill it with oil, like a deep fat fryer.
The other way tempura works is by deep-frying I'm suggesting you could use a different recipe for a different pan material. You can deep-fry or you can use a dredge instead of a batter. I prefer to use less oil (more for the cost savings than the health benefit) and pan-fry.

If you deep-fry, make sure there's enough room in the pan to allow for expansion of the oil when you put the food in or you could have a grease fire. Typical frying temperature is in the range of 325-350F.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:57 PM   #13
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Thanks to you, Rodentraiser. It's always fun to get questions like this where the poster actually participates. All to often it just doesn't happen that way. I hope you find the solution!
Yeah, me too. It's really hard to find good fish up here in the Northwest, believe it or not. Most places just bake their fish and it's pretty gross. The one place I've found that is good is an airport diner, and they want $3.50 for each piece. A wee bit pricy.
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Old 03-19-2016, 12:02 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
The other way tempura works is by deep-frying I'm suggesting you could use a different recipe for a different pan material. You can deep-fry or you can use a dredge instead of a batter. I prefer to use less oil (more for the cost savings than the health benefit) and pan-fry.

If you deep-fry, make sure there's enough room in the pan to allow for expansion of the oil when you put the food in or you could have a grease fire. Typical frying temperature is in the range of 325-350F.
I'm pretty sure you're right on that. And trying to save oil is exactly what I was thinking when I tried to "dredge" fry something that wasn't coated for that sort of cooking. I think I was trying to pan fry something that should have been deep fried. In the long run, I lost about $7 worth of cod. I should have sprung for the Crisco instead and used more of it.

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Old 03-19-2016, 01:34 PM   #15
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I have cooked tempura batter-coated foods if all kind in both SS, and cast iron. Tempura coating should start to puff up when placed in hot fat. I use sunflower oil as it is a healthier oil, and has no flavor to add to the food. The oil has to be deep enough to all the food to float. It also has to be at a temperature of 160 to 170'F. When the battered food is placed into the oil, initially it sings. As the batter begins to puff, the food should release from the pan bottom and float. If it doesn't you may have to nudge it with a thin, metal spatula.

Remember, battered foods contain much more oil in the finished recipe that do flour-dredge foods.

My best deep fried fish came about due to laziness. It was late, I didn't want to take the time to thaw, then dredge in flour, or make up a batter. I put a bumch of oil into my very large, flat-bottomed wok, got the oil hot, and simply dropped the frozen fish fillet into the oil. I let it cook for ten minutes. It was wonderful. The skin was crispy, and the flesh was firm and succulent, cooked perfectly. A little salt after it was cooked was all that was needed.

Hope this helps.

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Old 03-19-2016, 01:51 PM   #16
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I just heat up some Crisco in my CI, dredge the fish in seasoned flour, and drop a little bit of the flour in the hot oil - when it sizzles I figure it's time to add the fish. So far it hasn't stuck but my CI is well seasoned.

Chief - I don't do much deep frying at all, but shouldn't the oil be around 350F-375F? 160F-170F seems way too low.
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Old 03-19-2016, 03:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
I have cooked tempura batter-coated foods if all kind in both SS, and cast iron. Tempura coating should start to puff up when placed in hot fat. I use sunflower oil as it is a healthier oil, and has no flavor to add to the food. The oil has to be deep enough to all the food to float. It also has to be at a temperature of 160 to 170'F. When the battered food is placed into the oil, initially it sings. As the batter begins to puff, the food should release from the pan bottom and float. If it doesn't you may have to nudge it with a thin, metal spatula.

Remember, battered foods contain much more oil in the finished recipe that do flour-dredge foods.

My best deep fried fish came about due to laziness. It was late, I didn't want to take the time to thaw, then dredge in flour, or make up a batter. I put a bumch of oil into my very large, flat-bottomed wok, got the oil hot, and simply dropped the frozen fish fillet into the oil. I let it cook for ten minutes. It was wonderful. The skin was crispy, and the flesh was firm and succulent, cooked perfectly. A little salt after it was cooked was all that was needed.

Hope this helps.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
And that's exactly what I didn't do. I didn't have enough oil in the pan, not deep enough to do an actual deep fat frying.

Yeah, I was thawing my fish all the time and then I remembered one day that I used to throw frozen shrimp into oil and it was fine. So after that, I started frying my fish frozen. The batter stayed on better and I think it tasted better, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheryl J View Post
I just heat up some Crisco in my CI, dredge the fish in seasoned flour, and drop a little bit of the flour in the hot oil - when it sizzles I figure it's time to add the fish. So far it hasn't stuck but my CI is well seasoned.
That's what I tried to do and with chicken that works perfectly. But that's because I used a dry dredge method with the chicken. With the wet batter, though....well, let's just say doing it that way is a disaster.
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Old 03-19-2016, 06:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheryl J View Post
I just heat up some Crisco in my CI, dredge the fish in seasoned flour, and drop a little bit of the flour in the hot oil - when it sizzles I figure it's time to add the fish. So far it hasn't stuck but my CI is well seasoned.

Chief - I don't do much deep frying at all, but shouldn't the oil be around 350F-375F? 160F-170F seems way too low.
Yes, you are correct. That's 360 to 370 is what I meant to say. Thanks for the correction. I don't think you could even poach anything in that oil temperature.

The rest of what I said is still correct though.

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Old 03-19-2016, 10:30 PM   #19
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Remember, battered foods contain much more oil in the finished recipe that do flour-dredge foods.

That's why they're so yummy!
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Old 03-19-2016, 10:57 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheryl J View Post
I just heat up some Crisco in my CI, dredge the fish in seasoned flour, and drop a little bit of the flour in the hot oil - when it sizzles I figure it's time to add the fish. So far it hasn't stuck but my CI is well seasoned.

Chief - I don't do much deep frying at all, but shouldn't the oil be around 350F-375F? 160F-170F seems way too low.
Exactly what I do. You have to make sure that when you place that piece of the filet in the pan, that there is enough hot sizzling fat underneath it. And I use a restaurant aluminum sauté pan instead of CI due to the weight problem.

I grew up in a family where fish was more than for just Friday.
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