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Inspired by an episode of America's Test Kitchen and much research of my own, here is our Fish and Chips. I make my chips in the tradition of Pommes Frites and fry the fish at a lower temperature. Although I use cod, any firm white fish like haddock will do. Be sure to have authentic malt vinegar on hand and make our tartar sauce.

Preparation Time: 1 hour    Serving Size: 4

  • 4 evenly sized russet potatoes
  • 4 quarts peanut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 pound cod (thickest parts only)
  • 12 ounces cold beer
  • malt vinegar and tartar sauce
Click on picture for more images.

Make a batch of our tartar sauce early enough to let it sit at least 30 minutes before serving. Peel potatoes and cut length-wise into 1/2 inch slices. Lay the slices flat and then cut into 1/2 inch sticks. Place in a large bowl of water and let sit 30 minutes. Heat oil to 260° over medium heat in an uncovered, heavy Dutch oven. Depending on the size of your Dutch oven, you will probably have to cook the chips in batches. Drain and thoroughly dry your potato sticks. Carefully add to the oil and fry for 6-8 minutes, until just starting to color on the edges. The potatoes will be very tender and delicate and break easily. Use tongs to remove to a cooling rack set on a baking sheet. Bring oil back up to 260°, drain, dry and fry the rest of the potato sticks. Allow the par-fried potatoes to sit and come to room temperature.

Heat the same oil to 350°. Cut the cod into 3 ounce pieces, about 3x2 in size and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, cayenne pepper, paprika, ground black pepper and salt. Reserve and evenly spread 3/4 cup on a separate baking sheet. Add the baking powder to the remaining dry mixture and mix well. Starting with 8 ounces of the cold beer, pour into the dry mixture and lightly stir with a fork until just combined. Add beer one tablespoon at a time, stirring lightly after each addition, just until the batter combines and falls from the fork in a thin stream leaving a trail across the surface of the batter. The batter will be lumpy and slightly thicker than pancake batter but should be thin enough to fall in a stream from the fork.

Once again, depending on the size of your Dutch oven, you will probably need to fry the fish in batches. Use tongs to dip the fish into the batter to coat well. Drain excess batter from the fish and then dredge in the reserved dry mixture on the baking sheet. Cover well with the dry mixture then use your hands to lightly pat the fish pieces allowing the dry mixture to coat the batter. Drop into heated oil and fry 8 minutes until golden brown, turning often to prevent sticking to the bottom of the Dutch oven or to each other. Remove to another cooling rack. Place in a preheated 150° oven while frying the remaining batches, being sure to bring the oil back up to 350° before starting each batch.

Once all the fish is done, bring the oil back up to 350° and fry the chips 3-5 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Toss in a large bowl with sea salt before placing on their original cooling wrack while preparing other batches. Serve both fish and chips with malt vinegar and our tartar sauce


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