Friday 16 July 2010

FABPOW: Beer Snacks

I've thought for a long time that whitebait should be a great beer snack. Should be. Trouble is, whenever I've had it, it's essentially just greasy batter and indistinguishable grey matter inside. Just terrible. Then, earlier this week, I ordered 'fresh fried fishes'. I couldn't resist the charming name. They came out, heads and tails and all, lightly battered, probably just flour and seasoning, a little crunch of a mouthful, crispy batter giving way to fresh, soft fish and bones. A squeeze of lemon all it needed (though I couldn't help thinking a lemon and garlic mayo would be ideal to dunk into). This - with a cold lager on the side (always and only lager for this one, something cold, with hot weather around, preferably by the sea), sitting by the old port in town, watching people walk up and down, seeing the boats come in and out - was beer snacking at its best.

Best, that is, until I discovered something to rival the fresh fried fishes: BBQ'd octopus. Bite-sized chunks of pearly tentacles cooked over coals, tender inside, fire-blistered suckers outside, sweet and smoky and just-fishy, the most charred pieces (the tentacle ends, thin and curled) crispy and meaty, like pork crackling from the sea (I always find pork scratchings have an underlying fishiness to them, anyone else get that? An anchovy-thing, cured and salted). And this one, while great with a cold lager, could be fantastic with a chilled, charry porter or a lemony gueuze. Or with just about any other beer you want.

The best beer snacks? These are now on the list along with sausages and mustard, pork scratchings, chips (of course), crispy chicken skin... Finger foods, little mouthfuls, salty and crispy. I'm hungry now. What else is there?


  1. add home made onion rings, jalepeno poppers, local pork pie and pickle (the pub we were in the other day did this and it was amazing)

    i once came across a sausage that had been split down the middle then had mash and ltle lumps of cheese put in the split...mad but tasty.

    oh and not forgetting the trusty pretzl and chilli nuts..

  2. Fried fish? Like this mate?!!/photo.php?pid=85315&id=512318442

  3. It's all about the heat of the oil, Mark, if you make it a home. Don't put the whitebait in anything other that the hottest oil. If it's too cold then the fish will simply soak up the oil (and they should be oily anyway) and that's when they get insipid and claggy.

  4. The deep fried and garlicky pieces of rye bread they serve in Latvia should be on the list.

  5. the scotch egg !!