Dear fellow Whovians (and non-Whovians; you don’t have to love the Eleventh Doctor to try out his favorite meal),
With the premiere of the Twelfth Doctor’s first season mere hours away, I decided to cook up a little something for dinner to nostalgically remember my first Doctor and celebrate the introduction of his successor! But don’t worry, my take on fish fingers and custard won’t be quite so out of this world. I’m thinking lightly fried, beer battered cod paired alongside a savory custard with hints of garlic and Dijon. Sound good? Then let’s get cooking! Allons-y!
FISH FINGERS AND CUSTARD
Prep time: 20 minutes — Cook time: 40-45 minutes
for the custard
3 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cups milk (I used 2%, but you could use cream, half and half, etc.)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
hot water (used to fill the baking tin around the ramekins)
for the fish fingers
oil (we used vegetable, but it seems like canola would be the best)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus an extra cup for dredging
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 12 oz. bottle of brown beer (We used Yuengling, and it was tasty!)
1 1/2 lb. cod fillets, cut diagonally into inch-wide strips
1. You’ll want to begin with the custard since you can fry the fish while it’s cooking in the oven. Preheat your oven to 350°. In a medium saute pan, heat just a little oil and add the minced garlic, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped onion, sauteing lightly, and then sprinkle in a little sugar and allow the onion to caramelize. Once the excess moisture has evaporated, set the pan aside and let the garlic-onion mixture cool.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolks, salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard and blend together with a whisk.
3. Heat the milk in a medium sauce pan. Stir in the cheese and continue to stir until it completely melts into the milk. Heat the mixture to a near boil and remove from the stove.
4. When combining the milk with the egg mixture, you want to slowly introduce the eggs to the new temperature. Using about 1/4 cup measurements of the milk at a time, slowly dribble the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Introduce the rest of the milk just as slowly while continuing to whisk your heart out until the milk has been completely combined with the egg mixture.
5. Once your garlic and onions have cooled, distribute it evenly between your ramekins. Then pour the egg and milk mixture right on top, filling them up to the rim.
6. Place your ramekins into a deep baking tin, and fill the tin with the water that has been nearly boiling on the stove while you’ve completed the earlier steps. Stop once the water reaches halfway up the sides of your ramekins.
7. Bake the custards in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the center has set but will still jiggle a bit when you shake them. Remove the ramekins from the oven and carefully pull them from the hot water bath. Allow them to cool.
8. While your custards are baking, you can assemble everything for your fish fingers! Preheat a deep pot filled halfway with oil to about 360°.
9. Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl. Whisk in the beer until the batter is smooth and clump-free. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
10. Lightly dredge each piece of fish in the extra flour, tapping off any excess, and dip the fish in the batter. Carefully place the fish in the frying pan and fry until golden brown on both sides. (With one at the fryer and the other breading the fish, we didn’t have anyone to capture this step in the process. We’re in the process of teaching Zoey to use my camera, but the whole no thumbs thing has been a problem.)
11. Remove the fish from the oil with a slotted spoon, and allow it to rest on a paper towel-lined plate. Once the excess moisture is gone, you can serve your fish fingers immediately, or transfer the pieces to a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven until the custard cools to the perfect temperature.
There you have it, fish fingers and custard to enjoy every day, but especially on all of the important Doctor Who days!
P.S. Trust me, you’ll want to dip the fish in the custard. The regeneration-frazzled Eleventh Doctor knew what was up. That’s all I’ll say.