Monday, August 20, 2012

Bass Ackwards We Go - Fun With Family

Out West, in a little town called Astoria, Oregon, you will find the  finest fish and chips you will ever meet, made out of chunks of fresh caught albacore tuna, dredged in seasoned flour and fried in fresh oil, served on steak fries with all sorts of types of malt vinegers and tubs of tarter sauce to dredge them in.

There literally is a line outside the boat. Yes, the boat, even on this day, the hottest on record in what was  likely years.

And for good reason.  Go to  for info and a picture of their product.  Looking at it  a few days later just made me hungry for fish and chips again.

I  don't have their ingredient list, the tuna I have is of the Sorry Charlie variety, but I bet I can come up with a back door approach with some quality white fish, a little beer and some spices.

It wasn't the same, but dang, it was good.

Bass Ackwards Fish and Chips
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 eggs separated
1 T. canola oil
2  and 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 Tablespoons hot paprika
2 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons salt
8 oz. ale at room temperature  (reserve the rest until batter is mixed) I used Honey Weiss

oil, for frying

Six large whitefish fillets, whole or cut into fish and chip sized chunks. In a bowl, combine flour, cornstarch and spices and whisk until combined.. Add in oil, honey and  the egg yolks (which you have beaten first in a little cup or bowl). Slowly pour in the ale, stirring constantly.. Mixture should be smooth. Refrigerate 3-4 hours. Beat the two egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the batter (start with a small amount in at first, then incorporate the rest).

If the batter seems too thick, add a couple more Tablespoons of beer, too thin, add a tiny dab of flour, stirring very gently. ( think pancake batter "thick" as opposed to soup or mashed potatoes.)

Pat fish pieces dry after rinsing. lightly but completely dust with a bit of flour (this helps the batter adhere). Dip pieces into batter one at a time, allowing excess to drain off.  Immediately fry until golden brown (around 360 degrees F)  in oil.  (about six minutes depending on the size of the pieces) .

Eat with your favorite sailor -


  1. Dang, I've got a ballcap like that. Mine says USS Cavalla, though.

    First time I visited Astoria, was back in....'95ish, the USS Drum pulled in for a "liberty port". At low tide, the sub was sitting on the bottom, and had a noticeable tilt to it. There was no shore power in the voltages we needed (they had an extension cord...our shore power cables were about 8" in diameter). I don't think the town was ready for a bunch of submariners.

    Last time the wife and I were in Astoria, it was 2007 and the storm of the century was just heading out of the region. As we drove through, most businesses still didn't have power, and very few restaurants were open, those that were had a very limited menu.

    Still...a very beautiful part of the country, and I now have a new reason to visit! I loves me some fish-n-chips!

  2. Nice Tuna! The Seawolf? I hear it had a propensity to drop things in other places that were marked "US Property Manufactured by Western Electric". Probably old sea stories I am sure. Why tap underwater telephone cables, right?

  3. Keads - who knows? Big Bro will not say a peep about any of that or his work now. I understand. (I usually told him I was flying off somewhere for a good sale).

    There's a great book about it called Blind Man's Bluff that's worth a read.

  4. I haven't been to Astoria in some time. You just messed with my mind and now I'm longing for a short road trip with cash in hand.
    Pollock, Mahi-Mahi, True Cod, Ling Cod, Green Ling, Icelandic Cod, Halibut, and my favorite Fresh Sturgeon all make good or great fish an chips.

  5. Monte - I imagine they are seasonal, but there was a reason for the line on a 90 something degree day on the coast.

    Incredible food.

    There was a restaurant in Cathlamet that at one time served Sturgeon. That is some fine eating.

  6. Adding that place to the list. A guy I work with went albacore fishing with his dad out of Newport, Oregon last week, and brought some in for us at work. It's amazing the difference that 'fresh makes'. He had it in some kind of ginger marinade, and just simply cooked on the Foreman Grill it was some of the best fish I've ever had.

  7. Greg - yes, unlike where I live where unless you want to spend $$$ the "catch of the day" is usually a Beef Manhattan (good mind, you but not the same).

  8. If you ever get up that way, the best fish and chips I've ever had were whipped up at a local restaurant in Kodiak, Alaska. They were made with halibut caught in the local waters. Just thinking about it makes me hungry...

  9. Looks good, as always. If you ever make it back here, Sam would be honored to make halibut & chips for you.

  10. You should have picked up a couple of bottles of Dead Guy Ale in the secure area of PDX. You're trying to re-create Oregon fish-n-chips with Wisconsin ale. :)

    Of course, the secret missing ingredient could be the local medicinal plant of choice. It *is* Astoria after all. Any Secret Squirrel drug tests in the near future?

  11. Fish tacos from Barracuda caught off of San Diego five hours earlier and fillet by the first mate and chucked on the grill.
    Coupla minutes on the skin side down, flip, pull the skin while slamming a beer, wrap a tortilla around it....Dat's some good right der.

  12. Roscoe - I know, but I already had a carry on full of a couple dozen cans of smoked Salmon for Tam and the Ind. gang.

    Off to work!

  13. The phrase "Bass Ackwards" will always remind me of my great-aunt Verda. It was the closest I ever heard her come to profanity, despite her being quite vocally opinionated on most subjects.

  14. I would increase the amount of ale to at least 24 oz., 16 of which would go into the cook while the food was being prepared.

    For precedent, I refer you to just about any episode of Julia Child - especially in her later years. "If it's not good enough to drink, it's not good enough to cook with!"

  15. Not sure but you did make a good excuse for a road trip to Astoria. Now will the stomach last that long. Then maybe I could try your recipe and be happy. No I want to go to the coast. Giddy up....

  16. According to Google Maps, Bowpicker is a block away from Fort George Brewery. If they're using an ale in their recipe, the source is probably within walking distance.

    We haven't stopped in Astoria yet. Our next planned day trip in the area is to Maryhill Winery near The Dalles for a concert next month.

    Our trip to FL reminded me that I miss East Coast coal-fired pizza. Imagine getting the requisite ingredient for that back to Oregon on the plane. OTOH, it might give the sticky-fingered baggage handlers at TPA and MCO something to remember!

  17. I've eaten at that Fish & Chips joint. Loved it!

  18. Brigid, was your brother on the Seawolf around 76 or 77 when it was at Mare Island? If that is his picture on your blog he looks familiar, and I wonder if that is where I saw him.


  19. The Bow Picker serves up the best fish and chips in the known universe. Guess what I'll have for lunch tomorrow.
    They run year round weather permitting, albacore is one of the few fish that freezes well.

  20. James - he was, that's probably him you remember, light red hair, no one called him by his first name, he had a nickname. He's doing well, two kids, several grandkids, property near the water, still playing with toys.

    John B - I hope you get there soon. Hope you are feeling bettering.

    zdog - per your note, thank you for the offer, but I'm on the road too much to know when I'd be here for a frozen delivery.

  21. Know where my next day trip will take me...
    Tug Boat Annie's in Olympia has good fish & chips...get it with a pitcher of Mack & Jack...


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