I came across this fish yesterday at Grocery Outlet. I was a bit reluctant to buy it because it was only $4 for a 2lb bag – at least one third the cost of most fish I buy. But it was the only fish I could find at that store that didn’t come from China or Vietnam (instead, it was wild caught in the US), so I figured it was worth the risk. I think it was.
Pacific whiting, also known as Pacific hake, is a relative of the merluza I grew up eating in Argentina. It’s a medium-sized fish, with relatively fragile flesh and a distinctive, somewhat sweet, flavor. It has a greater oil concentration than other species, so it tastes fishier than most of the white fish I usually eat (catfish, cod, sole, tilapia, etc.). This flavor was too strong for my daughter, and didn’t particularly thrill my husband either. I liked it, but probably because it took me back to childhood.
That said, if I was cooking just for the adults I would definitely buy it again, specially at $2lb!
I’ve been trying to incorporate more fish into our diets, and while Camila is game for fish prepared any way, Mika doesn’t really like it. Alas, Camila only likes fish because Mika doesn’t like it, so I don’t have too much of an incentive of trying to convince Mika that fish is really good – Camila would probably stop liking it instantly. So instead I often prepare fish in the only way Mika will eat it: fried. And, let’s be realistic, I love fry fish too – so I’m using Mika as an excuse for as long as I can.
Today Mika was not at home for dinner, but I still decided to make fried fish – excuses be damned. I’ve tried many, many, many batters before but I had not come across one that I liked. Tonight I finally found one. This is a very simple batter – really, couldn’t get simpler – but it was very crispy and actually tasty. The “secret” is using corn starch in addition to flour. Remember to salt the fish and dredge it in flour before soaking in the batter. Fry in high heat. I tried this batter with both swai and cod, but greatly preferred it on the swai.
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 3/4 bottle Pale Ale
Sift the flour, corn starch, salt and paprika together. Whisk in the Pale Ale. That’s it 🙂