GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) -- In a normal year, bars and restaurants across Northeast Wisconsin would be packed with hungry fish fry goers.
But on the eve of the first Friday of Lent, some may want to cook at home.
"Traditionally, when people do a fish fry, they do what’s traditional," Green Bay-based celebrity chef Ace Champion said. "[They use ] your perch [or] your cod. But ironically, there’s a lot of other fishes that fry up beautifully; catfish is one of them. Right now, we’re actually doing salmon."
Chef Champion has been instructing Zoom classes since the start of the pandemic. He knows how to make an authentic Friday night fish fry at home.
"So what makes a perfect fish fry?" Champion asked. "There’s a couple of things, couple of steps that I would recommend doing. The first step is get an electric deep fryer. This way your temperature gets regulated and stays at a perfect 350 degrees."
And for beginners, Champion has other advice.
"The second step is if you’re not comfortable with making your own fish batter, just buy a store-bought one at your local grocery store," the Louisiana-raised chef said. "I season it with my 'New Orleans Cajun Seasoning.'
"I do a traditional fried chicken style batter where you go into the fish batter [and] into the egg wash, which is just the egg and the buttermilk, and then you go back into the fish batter. And then you drop it into the deep fryer. And you’re looking at about seven minutes."
And Champion recommends using many different types of fish.
"Take off that skin," he said. "That skin is gonna be hard for the batter to stick to it. You can get away with it with perch. But salmon’s got a really, really oily skin."
So for those staying at home on Fridays, Champion says 'don’t worry.' This is the next best thing.
"Filet that skin off, batter it on both sides, drop it in the deep fryer and you are good to go," he said. "[It's] your authentic, homemade fish fry."