One of my favorite fishing trips is to the north coast of California for rock cod, and one of my favorite ways to prepare it is with a deep fish fryer. The problem is you have to catch it before you can cook it, and thatís why I like fishing for rock cod. If you can get your boat in the water, and you know where the reef is, you are going to catch fish. Itís just that simple. And a fresh catch along with a deep fish fryer, combine to make a delicious meal.
After all, one of the reasons we fish is to put food on the table. After spending a day on the water, and the time and effort to clean and prep your catch, a tasty meal of deep fried rock cod is a nice reward.
When selecting your deep fryer, the first choice you have to make is, electric or gas. If you're like me and do a lot of outdoor cooking with no electricity available, your only choice is a propane burner. My favorite is the Bayou Classic fish cookers. They are well built, portable propane burners, and easy to use.
To prepare your rock cod for the deep fryer you will want to fillet them. You will have to cut out the rib cage and check for any other bones you may have missed. Then cut your fillets into 2" strips. Keeping your pieces of fish approximately the same size, helps ensure that all are properly cooked.
Next, you need to coat your fish. You can use a batter or coat it with egg and breadcrumbs. I generally prefer a beer batter, but, it comes down to personal preference. Just make sure you do coat it. This helps keep the oil out and the moisture in.
Make sure you use a vegetable oil with a high smoking point. I generally use peanut oil, but canola oil or soybean oil will work as well. You need to pre-heat the oil to 350-375 degrees F. You don't want it to fall much under 350 degrees , or the oil will soak through the batter making the fish taste greasy.
When cooked at the proper temperature, your batter will be a crispy golden brown and the cod will be moist and delicious. So, make sure you have a quality thermometer with your deep fish fryer. If not, you can drop a small piece of bread in the hot oil, if it turns golden brown within 45-60 seconds, the oil temperature is fine.Don't overload your fryer, as this will lower the oil temperature. Just fry 3 to 6 pieces of fish at a time, depending on the size of your fryer.
And now, it's time to eat, and there are a variety of tasty ways to consume your deep fried rock cod. It tastes great all by itself, or dip it in your favorite sauce. One of my all time favorites is fish tacos. Whether you like a crispy shell or a soft shell, deep fried cod fits very well in either, and makes for a delicious meal.
So, if you like catching fish, give California rock cod a try. Just remember, you need to know where the reefs are, so make sure you get some local knowledge. Oh yea, and don't forget your deep fish fryer.