I love Fish and Chips...... when cooked properly. I've given up ordering it outside of the UK because apart from the occasional surprise, A Salt and Battery in NYC being one of them, I'm usually disappointed.
Fish and Chips are not fish bites with french fries, or frozen chips, or potato wedges. The fish has to be batter, not breadcrumbs. The chips should be fresh potato. Ideally twice fried, and the fish should be a chunky white fish in a light crispy batter. They have to be served with mushy peas, tartare sauce, a slice of lemon and malt vinegar... anything else for me is just disappointment....
I'm pretty sure there is a law about this, and if not there should be.
Masters Super Fish in London does perfect Fish and Chips as does The Dining Place in Berwick Street Market for anyone visiting London.
Alas, I no longer live in London and sometimes the urge on a Friday Night to have Fish and Chips is just too strong, as was the case last week. So I took myself off to the Fish shop bought some Pollock (sadly there wasn't any fresh cod) and then to the farmer for some potatoes and I was ready to make my own.
I had been watching a Heston YouTube video and felt inspired. I didn't agree with his choice of fish, and as I live in a landlocked country I have to take what I can get !! I followed his recipe for batter 'almost' and I definitely cooked my chips in stages..... the result was scummy.
I made the batter in advance, as this is what I was always taught to do.
Ingredients for the batter.
100g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
salt and pepper
40 ml vodka
a little honey
Veg oil for cooking
Piper Maris potatoes - or similar
Cod or pollock fish fillets. one per person.
Sift the flour and baking powder together and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Make a well in the middle and pour in the vodka, the ale and honey. whisk well until fully combined, leaf to stand for about an hour.
Peel the potatoes and cut into 'chip' shapes. boil them in water until they are starting to soften slightly on the outside. Drain the pan and cool the chips in cold water.
Lie the chips on kitchen paper and dry them. If they are still a bit hot the water will quickly evaporate. Let the chips cool. The chips need to be cooked twice in hot oil at 200 degrees C.
In between frying, the chips should be drained, dried using kitchen paper and cooled slightly. This really helps them crisp up on the outside whilst keeping them fluffy inside.
Prepare the fish before cooking the chips.Put a few spoons of flour on a plate and use it to coat the fish fillets before dipping them in the batter. Make sure they are fully coated and get them straight into the hot fat.
I fried the fish between the chip frying stages as I could keep the fish for a few minutes in the oven to keep warm whilst the chips are being fried for the second time. This also let some of the excess oil soak off the fish onto kitchen paper.
Serve with Mushy Peas (Batchelors in a tin are my fave) Tartare sauce (I hate this) and Sarsons Malt Vinegar (love love love this ) and enjoy with a nice glass of chilled white wine.
The other thing I do when making fish and chips makes everybody I know giggle, and its that I keep the fat fryer on the balcony. It has a filter, and its fairly new, but if I use it indoors then it leaves a smell in the house that lingers for days......
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