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Oct 28, 2007 01:19 PM

Fish Fry

I want to do a fish fry at my church and can't see to find any helpful tips on how to do it. Has anyone got any experience with this? I would expect about 80 - 100 people.

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  1. Get an outdoor gas turkey fryer. This will allow you to do larger volumes of fish and keep the grease and smell outside.

    2 Replies
    1. re: scubadoo97

      Turkey fryer is a good idea. A word to the wise- keep a safety zone around the fryer that you control(absolutey no kiddos near it). And keep the cooker over grass while in use. I've read a few cases where folks have used these on their wooden patios- spills happened and fires started.
      Save me some :)

      1. re: Spencer

        Concrete would seem to be the perfect surface to do this on, and it is in most ways, but make sure any spilled grease gets scrubbed up before you go home. Unless the new owners have resurfaced my old front porch, there is still a ring of duck fat that dripped from the edges of my Weber grill cover almost fifteen years ago...

      1. I don't know anything about the actual fish frying part, but here's the side dish you must have: pickles and onions. We grew up with this as the "salad" when we'd fry fish at the lake. It is absolutely what it sounds like it is: chopped up dill pickles (my dad's favorite were Polish dills, which I think said something like "Polski Wyrob" on the label) and onions, about equal amounts of each, mixed together and allowed to mingle for a half hour or so.

        Was that just my family, or are there other people in the world who have this with fish?

        Seriously, pickles and onions. They really set off the fish.

        1. If it's a Wisconsin-type fish fry, you need cole slaw on the side with good rye bread. Also hot German potato salad.

          1 Reply
          1. re: karykat

            Boy it's been 25 years since I moved from Wisconsin and I still miss the Fish Frys.

          2. I love fish fries! If a local church in my neighborhood has one, I am there!!!
            You have to work on your menu now because these are kind of regional things. As karykat says, in Wisconsin, the Friday night fish fries have German side dishes. In much of the South, you better have hush puppies but most Yankees aren't going to want those.
            Down home food is a pretty sure bet wherever you are. Plain potato salad and cole slaw with no frou-frou additions. Good rolls or corn bread. Some places demand sliced bread, even Wonder Bread, and you have to have vats of tartar sauce plus other condiments. And hot sauce like Tabasco.

            The most common fish are whiting and catfish through the South and Mid-Atlantic. They come frozen and the fillet sizes are pretty standard. They're also inexpensive, with whiting being downright cheap. A mix of AP flour and cornmeal makes a good coating although some use just cornmeal or cornflour. Usually not batter.
            I have no idea what is the preference in your section of the country.
            I have never been to a fish fry where they offered a non-fried-fish alternative like baked fish. Too complicated. Yeah, yeah, but it opens the floodgates...

            If this is a fundraiser, dessert can be a separate bakesale. Down home desserts always sell really well at fish fries. Pies and cakes by the slice fly off the tables. Brownies and chocolate chip cookies.

            There are some types of traditional events that are best when you keep them simple. Oyster roasts, pancake breakfasts, fish fries, things like that. If there is a formula for them in your region or city, stick to it and do the nicest job you can. People love these things and always support them.

            3 Replies
            1. re: MakingSense

              I think MakingSense just made lots of sense. (!) Go with what is traditional in your area and do the best you can with it. Because people who come to these kinds of things will have set expectations for the menu depending on where you are. (What region of the country are you in, if you don't mind my asking?)

              1. re: karykat

                Karykat, did you see the recent Saveur magazine article on Milwaukee fish fries? Great regional tradition. You're right. Same menu pretty much everywhere you go but people love them. I used to do tours for international visitors and loved to arrange hitting Milwaukee on Friday so we could go to a fish fry. They always loved them, more than if I had taken them to some four-star restaurant. One of the best things to show people about America.

                1. re: MakingSense

                  I think I did see it at the store. Now I'm curious to dig it up.