A whole “Lota” deep-fried burbot

Burbot on the boat
A bin o’ burbot. Photo: Titus Seilheimer

Most folks know him as Titus Seilheimer, fisheries specialist at Wisconsin Sea Grant. To his thousands of Twitter followers, he’s “Dr. Fish.” But buried beneath those public identities is a secret one: Grumpy Burbot.

“I’m a burbot in a bad mood. Not a Lota you can do about it,” says Grumpy Burbot’s Twitter biography. The burbot, a.k.a. Lota lota, is a freshwater cod native to the deep waters of Lake Michigan. This under-appreciated, eelish critter boasts firm, white flesh and is known to many anglers as “that slimy fish that wraps its tail around your arm when you catch it.” But there’s much more to the burbot than meets the eye. Learn a lota more on the Michigan Sea Grant species page or the Eat Wisconsin Fish website. Or, of course, by visiting the Grumpy Burbot himself on Twitter.

When he’s not tweeting on behalf of this peevish piscene, Titus experiments with different ways to prepare his alter ego. One of his strategies is to eat boiled burbot with butter as “poor man’s lobster.” Another is to batter and deep-fry succulent chunks of meat (recipe below).

Fried Burbot Prep
Battered chunks should be about fork-sized. Photo: Titus Seilheimer
17116711579_a03ff93a05_o.jpg
Enjoy the battered burbot with your favorite dip or sauce. Photo: Titus Seilheimer

Titus Seilheimer’s deep-fried burbot

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds burbot, cut into chunks
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (or Cajun seasoning)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (or less if using Cajun seasoning)
1 cup milk, water, or combination (or your favorite local beer)
1 egg
Oil for frying (peanut or other vegetable oil)

Preparation

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and seasonings. Add liquid and egg and stir until smooth. Let stand.
  2. Heat 2 inches of oil to 365 degrees Fahrenheit in a deep fryer or deep, heavy pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Stir batter and dip burbot chunks into batter. Let excess batter drip back into bowl, then carefully place fish into hot oil. Increase the heat to maintain the temperature.
  4. The fish is done when the batter is golden brown. Drain on paper bags or paper towels.
  5. Enjoy!

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