Set the Net

Recipes and snapshots of life in Bristol Bay, AK

Fish 'n Waffles Bristol Bay’s near shore CDQ 4E halibut longline season opens TODAY!!! It’s Beltane, and it’s time to get wild & free with Alaskan seafood, celebrate the sun, and send light for a safe season on the water to all our fishermen.

Beer Battered HalibutBeltane is the Fire Festival in Celtic History, a way to honor the sun by lighting bonfires and budding new relationships were secured in hand fasting ceremonies. It’s fitting today with sunny skies over Bristol Bay screaming for campfires, good food, and friends. It feels like the year is just beginning with new leaves budding, long nights with the sun in the sky, the last of the ice out of the harbor, and boats launching for fresh fish. I can’t wait for the first halibut to land at the dock, for ceviche, halibut tacos, creamy tomato basil confit with seared halibut, baked halibut head, and this beer battered halibut Fish ‘n Waffles! 

Bronson filleting halibut.An Alaskan spin on the Southern staple chicken and waffles, this Fish ‘n Waffles is beer battered halibut over crispy, light, & airy, cornmeal and buttermilk waffles. Sure to please everyone when served in a towering stack drizzled with the spicy honey bourbon glaze.

Fish 'n Waffles w/ GlazeBeer Battered halibut has long been a favorite in my family, I grew up with my dad making basically this same recipe with the addition of dried dill and served up with french fries and tarter sauce. It just tasted like summer. I can see my Dad in his old camo button up, sleeves rolled to the elbows and jeans no matter how hot it is outside, frying chunks of fish to be stacked high between paper towels, never letting anyone swipe a piece before they hit the table. We would all sit with the kitchen door open wide, breeze coming in through the screen, canned green beans passed around the table, eating happily.

Fish 'n Waffles This recipe is slated to be a new favorite in our house and I hope in yours as well. It was inspired by my friend Erica who gave me my waffle iron with the only instruction being  make a savory Bristol Bay style dish that takes around 30 minutes to make… challenge and waffle iron accepted. Thanks Erica!

Fish 'n Waffles Fish ‘n Waffles – Beer Battered Halibut over Crispy Cornmeal and Buttermilk Waffles with a Spicy Honey Bourbon Glaze (serves 4, Time approx. 30 minutes)

You’ll need:

for the fish

  • 1 lb Wild Alaskan Halibut
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/4 cup Irish Red Ale or Amber beer
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoons buttermilk powder*
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • vegetable oil for frying

for the waffles 

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

for the honey bourbon glaze 

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Optional hot sauce for serving 

To make:

Prepare halibut by removing skin and any bones from fillet. Cube halibut into 8 evenly sized pieces approximately 1 1/2 inches in thickness, squeeze juice from lemon over fish and turn to coat, set aside.

In a small pot over medium heat bring honey and bourbon to a boil then reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes whisking occasionally. Add in butter, a tablespoon at a time, until melted. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne pepper and set aside covered with a lid and towel to keep warm until serving.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees for keeping waffles warm and crispy before serving. Preheat waffle iron and grease to prevent sticking of waffles. In a large bowl whisk together egg yolks, melted butter, buttermilk, and oil until combined. In a medium bowl sift together dry ingredients and add into egg/buttermilk/oil/butter mixture, gently combine but do not beat! Batter will appear very liquid-y but will thicken and froth with the addition of the beaten egg whites – in a small bowl whisk egg whites until stiff and add to batter gently folding them in. Batter will make approx 8 thin waffles in waffle irons similar to this one. Keep waffles warm by placing in preheated oven directly on rack until serving.

While the waffles cook, make up the beer batter by whisking the flour, beer, powdered garlic,  and buttermilk powder until smooth. Batter should be a thick – Elmer’s glue like – consistency – you can adjust by adding a little more flour or beer as needed. To thin and it won’t coat halibut, to thick and it will cake.

Heat a large cast iron pan or heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat with approx. a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil until hot. You will know oil is up to temp by dropping a drop of beer batter into the oil – if it puffs, floats and fries it is hot enough, if batter sinks oil should be hotter, if oil smokes turn your temperature down! Batter halibut chunks one at a time and place into hot oil, cook each side until batter puffs and browns, flip using a metal fish spatula gently. Remove from heat once browned allow to rest on plate covered with paper towels until all fish is cooked.

To serve stack two waffles tall on a plate, top with two chunks of halibut and drizzle liberally with honey bourbon glaze. For added spice & heat serve with a favorite hot sauce or an additional sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

*The buttermilk powder in the beer batter is optional – in rural Alaska buttermilk is rarely available in stores so I regularly use powdered buttermilk in all my baking and cooking. I really like this and this brand and use as directed on packaging. As a tip, whenever using in baking always mix powdered buttermilk into dry ingredients and then the appropriate amount of water when recipe calls for the addition of buttermilk. 

Waffle recipe minimally adapted from this King Arthur Flour recipe. 

Fish 'n Waffles

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