Cod cheeks in beer batter

A sharp tartar sauce provides the perfect foil for James Martins crisp-fried cod cheeks
By James Martin
Cod cheeks in beer batter
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2-3
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the tartar sauce

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 300 ml vegetable oil
  • 100 g capers
  • 150 g gherkins, chopped
  • ½ shallots, finely chopped
  • small bunch dill, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • ½ lemons, juice only

For the batter

  • 15 g fresh yeast
  • pinches salt
  • pinches sugar
  • 200 ml beer
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 200 g plain flour

For the cod cheeks

  • 500 g cod, cheeks
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • small bunch dill, chopped
  • 2 litres vegetable oil, for deep-frying


1. For the tartar sauce: whisk together the egg yolks and vinegar in a bowl. Still whisking, start adding the vegetable oil very very slowly to make a mayonnaise. The mixture should be thick and light once the oil is incorporated.

2. Stir in the capers, gherkins, shallot and herbs. Season with salt and pepper and sharpen with lemon juice. Set aside.

3. For the batter: sprinkle the yeast, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl. Pour over the beer and vinegar and whisk in the flour. Leave to ferment it is ready to use when the mixture starts to bubble.

4. For the cod cheeks: make sure the cheeks have all the membrane removed. Cut each cheek in half and toss with the garlic and dill.

5. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan or deep-fat fryer to 180-190C.

6. Dip the cod cheeks into the batter and fry in batches until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

7. Serve at once with the tartar sauce.

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