Lenten Fish Fry, Gluten Free

Posted by Brette in Food

fish fryLent is fish fry season here in Buffalo. Every Friday, most restaurants offer a fish fry. If you’ve never been to Buffalo, there are many things that make our fish frys special.

1- The fish must be beer battered

2- Haddock is the fish of choice and the ends should ideally hang off the ends of your plate

3- The gold standard for fish fry accompaniments are: cole slaw, fries (sometimes potato salad replaces this but that’s not the preferred choice!), macaroni salad and at some places you even get a cup of soup and a slice of bread. Why yes, we have an obesity problem, are you shocked?

Fish frys are practically a competitive sport around here. As soon as Lent begins, we begin scouring the entertainment section of the paper for ads for the best price with the most authentic meal. We gossip about who had a good fish fry where and people leave work early on Friday to get to them early. The best fish frys are normally served in a restaurant with square tables with those plastic fuzzy-backed table cloths and the black metal stacking chairs with the barely upholstered seat. The restaurant is usually quite dim and you can bet there’s a neon beer sign on the wall somewhere. You will be asked if you want your fish fried or broiled and Lord have mercy on those who go for broiled. People will wait in line for a good fish fry. Some churches will hold fish frys and make a fine buck doing so.

Since fish frys are such an important part of the Lenten season (no matter what religion you are) here, learning I am gluten intolerant was a blow to my fish fry search. Not only is the fish coated in a batter containing gluten flour, but it’s also made with beer which also has gluten! I thought my fish fry days were over. Obviously being a true Buffalonian, I couldn’t face that life sentence, so I had to make my own.

In a great show of restraint I made only fish fry, French fries and coleslaw for our meal.

Cole Slaw

1 head cabbage

1 cup baby carrots

4 tbsp sugar

3/4 cup light mayo

2 tbsp milk

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/8 tsp salt

Shred the cabbage and carrots with a grater or use the grater piece on your food processor (this makes it very quick work!). Stir all the other ingredients into the vegetables and then refrigerate at least an hour. This is often better the next day.

Gluten Free Battered Fish Fry

4 haddock fillets

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all purpose flout

1 cup Cup4Cup flour

salt and pepper

1/8 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1 egg

2  3/4 cup ginger ale

peanut oil


Pat the fish dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in 2 heavy duty deep sided skillets to 375 degrees on high. Mix all other ingredients, whisking. The batter should resemble thick pancake batter. Dip each fillet in the batter then place in the pan. Place two fillets per pan. When they become golden brown on the bottom, flip them. When both sides are golden, remove from pan and place on a paper towel, patting the top as well. Serve immediately.

You’ll want to serve ketchup on the side as well as tartar sauce and lemon wedges. Feel free to substitute any gluten free flour you like in this recipe. This recipe will also work for fried shrimp and scallops (if you’re really feeling ritzy in Buffalo you might get the fried seafood platter which would include shrimp, scallops as well as a big ass piece of halibut, but your dining companions will think you are a pig, not to mention filthy rich).  You could also use gluten-free beer instead of ginger ale, but I could not tell it was ginger ale at all.

The meal was a complete success and got thumbs up all around the table. No need to give up fish fry for Lent anymore!


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