Pecans add a sweet crunch to the breading for this crispy fried fish.
Southern Fish and Chips with Hot Salt
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3×¼-inch slices (about 2 pounds)
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 cup whole buttermilk
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup finely ground pecans
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 snapper fillets, skinned (about 1½ pounds)
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
- Hot Salt (recipe follows)
- Tartar sauce
- Lemon wedges
- ½ cup kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- Place sweet potatoes in a large bowl; cover with cold water. Let stand for 1 hour. Drain, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Fill a large cast-iron Dutch oven halfway with oil, and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350°.
- In a shallow dish, place buttermilk. In another shallow dish, whisk together flour, pecans, salt, and pepper. Dip fish in buttermilk, letting excess drip off. Dredge in pecan mixture, pressing to adhere. Place on a wire rack.
- Fry fish in batches (do not crowd pot), turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes (adjusting heat to maintain 350°). Remove fish using a slotted spatula, and let drain on paper towels.
- Increase heat to medium-high, and heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 360°.
- Toss half of sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Fry sweet potatoes in batches (do not crowd pot), turning occasionally, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes (adjusting heat to maintain 360°). Remove sweet potatoes using a slotted spatula, and let drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining sweet potatoes and remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Sprinkle with Hot Salt. Serve fish and fries immediately with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- On a small rimmed baking sheet, toss together salt and hot sauce.
- Bake until dry, about 5 minutes. Let cool completely. Stir with a fork to break up clumps. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.