Beer Batter Cod

Buying food and reading labels can be a dizzying task. One can't help but be overrun with questions like - Is this good for me and my family? Is it safe to eat? Where did this come from? Is this sustainable? Reading labels can work most of the time, but what if there’s no label, as with fish? You would think if a fish has been around since the beginning of time and spawned billions of eggs - there wouldn’t be any problem, right? But not so fast, too much of anything can be harmful, even cod. 

Fishing off Montauk Point, East End LI, GHL

Fishing off Montauk Point, East End LI, GHL

With it’s mild flavor, low fat content and a dense, flaky white flesh, it's no wonder cod is one of the most common fish used for fish & chips along with haddock and plaice. But, did you know it is currently at risk from over fishing in UK, Canada and other Atlantic waters? So be in the know with Seafood Watch. Use this guide to find ocean-friendly alternatives to seafood on the Seafood Watch “Avoid” list. It’s a good thing to use discretion and follow their lead so in the future when we are calling all cods, there are still some around.

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The carbonation in the beer makes the batter exceptionally airy and produces a crispy coating. Malt vinegar is a British favorite on fish and chips.

George's Beer Batter Cod

makes 4 - 6 servings 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 eggs

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 cup beer, a strong full flavored Stout or India Pale Ale

vegetable oil for frying

2 pounds cod fillet, cut into serving pieces

Malt vinegar for serving

Combine 1 cup of the flour, sugar, baking powder and black pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the eggs and hot sauce. Slowly pour in the beer, stirring constantly, until the foam subsides and the batter is smooth. Let the batter rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil to 370 degrees F. in a deep sauce pan or deep-fat fryer.

Dredge the the cod in the remaining 1/4 cup flour, shaking off any excess, and dip into the batter.

Carefully slip the pieces into the hot fat and cook until brown on both sides, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Serve with french fries and malt vinegar.

Spaghetti alle Vongole

Quick, easy and one of the most delicious pasta dishes outside of a good pesto. Afterwards, just sit back and enjoy a crisp Pinto Grigio or Rose like you're sitting seaside on the Almafi coast.  

The clams are the star of this dish, but co-starring is the garlic. You may also call this dish 'Aglio con Spaghetti alle Vongole.'  I've cooked this recipe for years using the sweetness of caramelized garlic, which adds a nice component to this dish. Yes, my family in Italy is shaking their heads right now as they cook with a very little amount of garlic. Go figure? But here in the US we've become accustomed to big flavors in our dishes. So get out my old recipe for caramelized garlic and make a half dozen heads, I guarantee you won't have any left. 

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Spaghetti alle Vongole recipe by George Hirsch

makes 4-6 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle from Know Your Fire Cookbook

1 pound dry spaghetti or linguine

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

2 heads caramelized garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 pounds Manila or littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed well

1 cup dry white wine 

Juice of 1 lemon

4 Tablespoons sweet butter

Freshly ground black pepper

4 Tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped

2 Tablespoons fresh basil, rough chopped

Optional: 1/4 cup lightly toasted bread crumbs

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.

Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to toss the spaghetti directly into the sauce.

Pre heat a deep side saute pan or dutch oven; add olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes; saute for 1 minute. Add the clams, wine, half the parsley and lemon juice. Cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until all the clams are opened, about 5 - 8 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open.

Increase heat to medium temperature add the hot, drained linguine to the pan; add the butter and season with pepper. Toss the pasta with the clams to coat pasta with clam sauce. Top with chopped parsley, basil and toasted bread crumbs. Drizzle with additional olive oil. Serve immediately.

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Shrove Tuesday

aka..Pancake Tuesday. Since aprox. the 12th century this celebration marks the days preceding lent by using valuable ingredients like eggs, milk and sugar; hence cooking up pancakes or the thin pancake, the crepe.

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Pancakes are one of the earliest forms of bread and are served up geographically in many different ways. You can be-all-traditional with baking powder, or try prospecting with sourdough pancakes like the early pioneers. Flip’em with oatmeal or buckwheat when in Vermont; or for a Dutch style treat serve with lemon, powdered sugar and jam. Substitute the flour for cornmeal and you’ll be enjoying it as Native American speciality.

Go Pollack by designing your own pancake creations with sliced apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, chocolate chips, chopped nuts.  

Berry Crepes

Makes four servings

chefgeorgehirsch.comGeorge Hirsch Lifestyle

2 cups mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)

¼ cup raspberry jam

1 cup all-purpose flour

Pinch salt

1 cup milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 Tablespoons butter, melted

2-3 drops vanilla extract

2 egg whites

1 Tablespoon granulated cane sugar

Confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup Fresh whipped cream

8 Fresh mint leaves

Place the flour and salt in a medium bowl and slowly add the milk and egg yolks, using a whisk to avoid lumps.  Stir in the cream, melted butter, and vanilla.  

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Right before making the crepes, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.  Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the beaten egg whites in to the flour mixture.

Preheat a 6-inch nonstick skillet & spray with vegetable spray.  When the pan is very hot, pour in 2 Tablespoons of the batter and swirl it around.  Cook 1 minute, turn and cook another minute on the other side.  Remove and set aside.  

Continue making crepes with remaining batter.

Spread two teaspoon of raspberry jam in the middle of each crepe, add a few mixed berries.

Roll up and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.  

Serve two crepes per serving with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and top off the crepes with the fresh mint leaves.

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
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HOT CHOCOLATE BERRY CUPCAKES

This sweet was created in my restaurant years ago as a hot dessert to satisfy every chocoholic. it's my warm bit of chocolatey goodness I include in my St. Valentine's Day lineup. A little like a foolproof soufflé only easier to prepare and a hit every time! 

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HOT CHOCOLATE BERRY CUPCAKES

makes 8-10 

chefgeorgehirsch.com |  George Hirsch Living it UP! Cookbook 

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1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 

1 1/3 cups sugar 

1/3 cup cocoa powder 

3/4 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 cup milk 

1 Tablespoon white vinegar 

1/3 cup vegetable oil 

1 egg 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

1/2 cup fresh raspberries 

For the Hot Cupcake filling: 

6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 

1 teaspoons grated orange peel 

2 Tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate, chopped 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a medium bowl combine the flour,1 cup sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and mix well. 

Combine milk with the vinegar in a separate bowl and allow to stand 5 minutes for the milk to sour. Add the oil, egg, and vanilla; mix well. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Do not over beat. 

In a small bowl combine the cream cheese, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, orange peel and chopped chocolate and mix until well blended. 

Pour the batter evenly into four or six ounce buttered ceramic ramekins or cupcake tins. Divide raspberries among all ramkins, then place on top of batter. Divide the cream cheese mixture into 10 equal balls and drop one into the center of each batter. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove the ramekins, let stand for 2 minutes, and serve with ice cream on the side. 

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
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