Diced! – Emily – Gluten-Free Beer Battered Cod with Cauliflower Cheese

Today we have an entrant for the second course of the Diced! competition. Contestants were instructed to create or find a recipe for an entree and any sides containing the following ingredients: White Fish, Cauliflower, white pepper and Brie Cheese. They were instructed to make their dish and create a blog post about it, including pictures. You can help determine who advances to the next round. After the last post, I will post a poll where you can vote for contestants to move on. Vote for the post you like the best. You can vote because of the inventiveness, the yummyness, the use of ingredients, the quality of the writing and pictures or for any other reason. The poll will be active for one week only. Check back and vote. In the event of a tie, the Ranting Chef will choose who advances. More information about Diced! can be found here.

Due to the generosity of the following companies, we have some really awesome products as a prize to the winner of this Diced! competition. In addition to the prizes below, I am working to secure additional ones. The winner will receive:

Today’s contestant, Emily, when she is not watching bad reality TV or going out on even worse dates, she is the proprietor of Dinner is Served 1972, a blog dedicated to the culinary horrors of the American mid-century kitchen (this means lots of unflavored gelatin and a good deal of variety meats). She lives in Baltimore with a giant cat named Brian. 

Gluten-Free Beer Battered Cod with Cauliflower Cheese 
One of the best things about working in higher education is that I get a full-fledged holiday break. I love that I am able to take a week and just go home and spend time with my family. Since it was over my holiday break that I tackled this round of DICED!, I had to create something gluten-free because my mum has Celiac Disease. Or as I like to say The Gluten. Just like The Diabetes–which she has as well. Poor mum.
Anyway, since whitefish was assigned, the first thing that I thought of was fried fish—because  for the longest time that was the only way that I liked to eat fish—battered, deep-fried, and swimming in Tartar Sauce. I love me some fried fish sammiches; every year I look forward to my Good Friday McDonald’s dinner of Shamrock Shake, fries, and Filet O’Fish.
So I wanted to make fried fish. One problem: GLUTEN. No big. Now that they make gluten-free beer that doesn’t suck (the first incarnations were sickly sweet), I’d just make my batter sans-wheat.
Here’s the recipe:

Gluten-Free Beer-Battered Cod

  • 1 pound cod cut into 4 pieces
  • ½ cup Gluten-free flour seasoned with salt, white pepper and Old Bay (for dredging)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 bottle gluten-free beer
  • 1 cup gluten free flour mixed with 1 tsp Old Bay, ¼ tsp white pepper and ¼ tsp salt
  • Oil for deep-frying
Mix together the gluten-free flour, egg, and beer, a little at a time to get a batter the consistency of pancake batter (I used about ¾ of the bottle).
fish setup
Dredge the cod in the seasoned flour and then dip into the batter. Lower the fish carefully into the hot oil (I don’t know the temp—whatever it is that a bit of the batter starts to fry up real nice on contact).
 fish fry
Fry the fish on each side until the batter has solidified and is a nice amber color. Remove fish to a rack on a cookie sheet and place in a low oven (250 or so) to drain and keep warm.
baked fish
Do this for each piece of fish.
Serve with the Caper Sauce—the same one from my Thanksgiving Shrimp Sputnik (adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Snacks & Refreshments—Creative Cooking Library 1963)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1/8 cup drained, chopped dill pickles
  • ½ tbsp. drained, chopped capers
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
Mix in bowl and chill.
Since I was going with a bit of a British thing with the fried fish, I decided to go British with the side as well—Cauliflower Cheese. Well, basically that’s just Brit-speak for Cauliflower au Gratin. I googled “what do the British call Cauliflower au Gratin”? Traditionally a cheddar would be used, but I went with the Brie (of course!) and two other light, white cheeses—Gruyere and Fontinella. My roux and topping were both gluten-free.
3 cheeses

Cauliflower Cheese

  • 1 pound cauliflower, split into tiny flowerettes
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp gluten-free flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 1/3 cup gruyere (shredded)
  • 1/3 cup Fontinella (shredded)
  • 1/3 cup brie (cubed)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • Splash of sherry
  • Gluten-free bread crumbs for topping
  • Paprika
Steam the cauliflowerettes and then divide them into 6 individual ramekins. Place on a baking sheet or jelly roll pan.
In a saucepan combine the butter and flour. Slowly add the 2/3 cup milk and 2/3 cup buttermilk, continuously stirring. Add the cheeses one at a time, stirring as it melts. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with the remaining milk and buttermilk. Season with sherry, nutmeg, salt, and white pepper.
sauce ramekins
Pour the sauce over the cauliflowerettes. Top with bread crumbs and paprika.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until tops are brown and sauce is bubbly
This is the finished product:
fish and cauliflower copy - Featured SizeWhy peas? Because when I lived in Richmond, VA there was a little Jewish Deli/Irish Pub called O’Brienstein’s (for real!) next to the Cuban restaurant where I waitressed; and at O’Brienstein’s they made a really nice fish and chips. And it was always served with peas. So that’s now how I like to have my fish. Plus, it just gives it a nice bit of color. 
So how was it? Pretty damn good! The fish wasn’t soggy at all. I really recommend draining the fish on a rack instead of paper towels. Placing the already-fried pieces in the oven kept them nice and warm while the other pieces of fish cooked. I do think it aided it keeping them nice and crisp.
The cauliflower cheese was delicious, decadent, but not at all heavy. Eschewing the cheddar for the milder cheeses was a solid choice because you could actually taste the cauliflower (and the brie!).
How about that white pepper? It’s got a little kick to it, so use it sparingly and then bump it up as you wish. But the fact that it is light in color and super-fine is great if you want to make a sauce and not have bits of cracked black pepper floating about. I am looking forward to introducing this spice into my repertoire.
My mum made great-big yummy sounds the whole time she ate. I’d like to think it was because my fish and cauliflower were that good. Or maybe it could be because she hadn’t been to a Lenten fish fry in over 20 years. That’s a long time to go without fried fish. Do they have fish frys everywhere? Or just in Pittsburgh?
One last thought: Was our host listening to a lot of The Beatles’ White Album when he came up with this challenge’s 4 ingredients (cauliflower, brie, white fish, and white pepper )? If so, I’m glad that I went with UK slant here.
And as they say across the pond, Cheers! Happy 2014, everyone!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Beer, Cheese3, Diced!, English, Fried, Guest, Main Dish 3, Recipes, Seafood, Vegetable4

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at rantingchef.com

3 Comments on “Diced! – Emily – Gluten-Free Beer Battered Cod with Cauliflower Cheese”

  1. January 9, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    like this a ton! 🙂


  2. January 9, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

    Awesome! Thank you!!



  1. Let’s Make a Deal! | Dinner is Served 1972 - January 12, 2014

    […] secret ingredients: white fish, white pepper, cauliflower, and brie. Well, I have just presented my Gluten-Free Beer Battered Cod with Cauliflower Cheese up at Rantings of an Amateur […]


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