What's in a Friday night fish fry
Conversation about the past week bubbles up between friends and family as they sip on Brandy Old Fashioneds and wait for a table at which to partake in the weekly fish fry ritual. Youngsters suck down Kiddie Cocktails with wild abandon—all week they've been anticipating Friday night just as much as their parents have. Suddenly, heads turn as a familiar last name is heard over the din of the room. "Our table's ready!" someone exclaims, and they make their way to the most magnificent of all feasts.
While not a requirement, a cup of New England clam chowder is a common way to start off a Friday night fish fry. It stops the grumbling stomach and holds it over until the rest of the food arrives. And what makes up the rest of the food? First, there's the most important component: the fish. Either beer battered or breaded and then deep fried, it may be of a saltwater or freshwater species, such as cod, pollock, haddock, catfish, smelt, perch, walleye, or bluegill. Sometimes there is a combo platter or all-you-can-eat option for a few dollars more. Good fried fish doesn't need tartar sauce, but a good tartar sauce can make a good fried fish great. Fish frys also usually come with a choice of potato—most often french fries or potato pancakes—coleslaw, and rye bread. A lemon wedge often garnishes the plate. It all goes down nicely with an ice-cold pilsner beer. While it wouldn't be a fish fry without the food, it is the tradition of coming together with family and friends that makes it special.