Fried Cod With Diced Watermelon Chutney
Chef Rebecca Peizer
Culinary Institute of America
St. Helena, Calif.
Fried fish is a popular preparation during Lent, but chef Rebecca Peizer of the CIA freshens up the dish by pairing it with two housemade condiments: watermelon chutney and tartar sauce. She uses cod fillets, but any firm-fleshed, flaky white fish fillets can work.
4 (5 oz.) cod fillets
Salt and pepper, to taste
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for coating
1 cup cornstarch
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 to 2½ cups sparkling water or club soda
1 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar
2 qt. vegetable oil
¾ cup finely diced red onion
½ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup sugar
2 cups diced watermelon
1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced and seeded
1 tbsp. slivered fresh mint
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
½ cup grated watermelon rind
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup capers, chopped
1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
- Cut each fish fillet into two pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
- In shallow bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt for the batter; set aside.
- For chutney: In large saucepan, combine onion, vinegar and sugar. Cook over medium heat until reduced by three-quarters. Add watermelon and Fresno chile; continue to cook for 5 more minutes until thickened. Cool; stir in mint and cilantro. Strain any excess liquid as needed.
- For tartar sauce: Squeeze any excess water from watermelon rind. In bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until needed.
- For fish: In mixing bowl, measure sparkling water and lemon juice. Stir in reserved flour mixture until just blended; do not overmix. Dry fish well, coat with flour, and dip into batter; set aside.
- Into deep fryer or saucepan, pour oil so that it reaches halfway up sides; heat to 350°F. Place fish into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt while warm.
- Serve fish with tartar sauce and the chutney. Garnish plate with watermelon slices.
Photograph courtesy of National Watermelon Board