Three fried fish sandwiches and crinkle-cut fries on a white surface with black and white type visible on the wall behind it
Photography, Johann Headley

Beer-Battered Fish Sliders

The best fish butty you'll ever have.

Jennifer Emilson’s The Lemon Apron Cookbook is filled with some the food blogger’s favourite recipes and stories. Her recipe for crispy fried fish sliders calls for Lake Erie yellow perch – or what Emilson calls “the candy of the fried fish world,” so-called for its tender and almost-sweet characteristics. You can swap in pickerel or walleye and serve it up with whatever you like on the side (Emilson and her husband usually eat this meal with one of their guilty-pleasures – store-bought crinkle-cut fries).

Three fried fish sandwiches and crinkle-cut fries on a white surface with black and white type visible on the wall behind it

Beer-Battered Fried Fish Sliders

Jennifer Emilson's recipe for fried lake perch sandwiches with coleslaw and tartar sauce. Swap in pickerel or walleye if you like, and serve with french fries.
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine American, British, Canadian, English
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

Seasoning Salt

  • ½ cup flakey finishing salt
  • 2 tbsp medium-grind pepper
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika

Coleslaw

  • cups shredded green cabbage
  • cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 large carrot coarsely grated
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • tsp dry mustard powder
  • tsp Seasoning Salt

Tartar Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • cup finely diced dill pickles
  • 1 tbsp pickle or lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp capers chopped
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 tsp chopped dill
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • tsp cayenne pepper optional

Fried Fish

  • neutral oil for frying
  • 1 cup flour divided
  • 2 tsp Seasoning Salt
  • ½ 6 oz (175 ml) bottle local craft lager divided
  • 1 lb (450g) lake or yellow perch fillets or pickerel or walleye – see note
  • flakey finishing salt

For Serving

  • 12 slider buns
  • butter
  • french fries or potato chips optional

Instructions
 

Seasoning Salt

  • In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients. Makes about ¾ cup – store remainder in a labeled airtight glass jar at room temperature for up to 6 months.

Coleslaw

  • Place the cabbage, carrots and shallots in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, honey, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard powder and Seasoning Salt. Taste the dressing and adjust to taste. Add to the slaw and mix together until everything is well combined. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Tartar Sauce

  • Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy with a bit of texture. Use a bit more pickle juice to thin it out, if desired. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Fried Fish

  • Using a wok or high-sided cast-iron Dutch oven, heat 1½ to 2 inches of oil to 375°F, monitoring the temperature with a thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, the oil will shimmer when it’s ready and you can test the oil with some batter. Make sure any long handles are pointed away from you. Line a baking sheet with paper towel.
  • Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, whisk together ¼ cup of the flour and 1 tsp of the seasoning salt. Set aside. Place the remaining ¾ cup flour and remaining 1 tsp of seasoning salt in a separate bowl. Whisk half of the beer into it until you have a batter with a thin consistency that just coats the back of a spoon. Let it rest for about 10 minutes and sip the beer while you wait! If the batter is still thick, add a bit more beer, 1 tbsp at a time. Otherwise, you run the risk of the coating turning soggy when the fish is being fried and while it sits afterwards.
  • Working with one fillet at a time, dip the fish in the dry mixture, shake off any excess, and then dip into the batter. You may see some of the fish peeking through the batter, which is fine. Repeat with the other fillets.
  • If you don’t have a thermometer, gently drop ¼ tsp of the batter into the oil. The batter should bubble up immediately. If not, continue to heat the oil and try again.
  • When you’re ready to fry, working in batches, use a spider to add two or three fillets to the hot oil. Fry until the coating is a lovely golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Monitor the oil and keep it between 340°F and 360°F while the fish is frying. You may need to give it a few minutes to come back to temperature between batches. Drain on the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt.

To Serve

  • Slice the buns and spread them with butter. In a skillet over medium-high heat, or using the oven set to broil, lay the buns cut side down (or cut side up for the broiler), until toasted. This should only take a few minutes.
  • Spread some tartar sauce on the bottom bun. Add the fish, and top with 2 tbsp of coleslaw. Cover with the top bun. Repeat. Serve with french fries, if desired

Notes

If you’re using a fish other than perch, cut the fillets to just larger than your slider bun. Thicker fish, like walleye or pickerel, will take a few minutes longer to fry. It’s better to have too much batter than not enough, so feel free to use the rest for more fish (some- times I’m able to use it for up to another pound of fish!).

A green cookbook on a cream background

Excerpted from The Lemon Apron Cookbook: Seasonal Recipes for the Curious Home Cook by Jennifer Emilson. Copyright © 2022 Jennifer Emilson. Cover and interior design by Lisa Jager. Cover and interior photography by Johann Headley. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

 

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