Saturday, August 20, 2011
"You are such a lekkerbek!" If someone says that to you in Dutch, just nod approvingly, wipe the grease off your chin and give them a big smile. A lekkerbek is someone who loves food, good food. And a not more appropriate name could have been given to today's dish, fried whiting, as it is indeed something an epicure might enjoy.
As a matter of fact, the whiting, is a bit of a lekkerbek himself, both in life and in eh....deep-fried afterlife, shall we say. Feeding primarily on shrimp and mussels, the whiting has a full and rounded taste, much unlike similar other white fish. You are, after all, what you eat.
Whiting was for the longest time the standard fish for this recipe, next to cod. A flavorful fish, cheap and abundant in the North Sea, it was battered, fried and served as Friday's meat replacement for the predominant Catholic south. Nowadays, whiting is not as abundant anymore and most lekkerbekjes are made from pangasius, not half as tasty as the whiting.
Fish stands and fishmongers are still easily found in cities and towns: most weekly markets will have at least one fishmonger who sells seafood, shrimp, herring and fish. People often buy a lekkerbekje to consume right there and then, or take it home for lunch or dinner. I guess it takes one to know one!
4 pieces of whiting or cod
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 teaspoon of dried dill
Pinch of salt and pepper
Dry the fish on both sides and rub a little bit of flour on it. Make a thick batter with the flour, milk, dill, salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of milk if it's too thick.
Heat your fryer to 375F or heat oil in a cast-iron pan on the stove. Take the necessary safety precautions and keep kids and pets out of the kitchen! Try a little piece first: dip it in the batter and fry. Taste it and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
Put the rest of the fish in the batter, turn it over so that both sides are covered and drop it in the hot oil. Fry to a golden brown, remove from the oil and place it on a plate with some paper towels to drain the fat.
Serve with boiled potatoes and vegetables for dinner, or have it for lunch on a roll, with some tartarsauce on the side.