Deep-Fried Fish

Fried fish was brought to England by the Sephardic Jews who settled there in the 17 th century. It is a dish now firmly entrenched in the Anglo-Jewish tradition, even among the Russian, Polish, German, and Austro-Hungarian Jews who came later. Fried fish is usually accompanied by the horseradish relish called Chrein.
Fried fish has the advantage of tasting even better cold than hot, so it is exceptionally suitable for Friday night, when cooking is forbidden.


serves 10
3 pounds white saltwater fish, such as halibut, cod, haddock, snapper, or sea bream
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups matzo meal
about 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
parsley sprigs for garnish


1. Wash and trim the fish and cut it into serving portions. Remove bones if desired. Put the flour, eggs, and matzo meal into 3 separate shallow bowls. Have ready plenty of absorbent paper on which to drain the fish.

2. Heat the oil over high heat in a heavy iron skillet; it should be about 1 1/2 inches deep. It is ready when it smokes very slightly, or until a 1-inch cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 60 seconds.

3. While the oil is heating, coat a piece of fish thoroughly with flour, shaking off the excess. Then dip it in the egg and finally in the matzo meal. Place fish in the skillet, and cook, turning with a spatula until brown on both sides, about 8 minutes total. Repeat with several more pieces of fish, but do not fry too many at one time and do not overfill pan. Oil will foam around the fish but should not splatter. As each piece is done, lay it on absorbent paper to drain.

4. To serve, arrange fish pieces on a large platter. Flat fish look best when placed in a ring, tails meeting in the center and raised slightly. Dot with sprigs of parsley.

5. If served cold, the fish can be cooked a day in advance, and refrigerated.

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