Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fish Fry!

For a few Summers now I've been thinking about making fish and chips at the cottage. At home I'll bake fish in the oven or grill it on the barbecue, but what I've been craving for the cottage is something entirely different. Hand-battered, deep-fried English (as in British) style fish and chips, just like the ones I used to spend my weekends and Summers making at the small-town diner I worked in many, many moons ago. The Summer goes by so quickly and is so full, we knew our last cottage visit for 2012 would be our visit in July. So it was settled. Fish and chips was on the menu.

When it comes to finding recipes my methods vary. Sometimes I will pour over my own collection of recipe books and magazine clippings as well as scour the Internet for the most authoritative version of something or other, not being satisfied to accept the first recipe I find for a dish. Other times I do a Google search and happily accept a recipe appearing in the first dozen or so results. This time out, the latter option worked fine. I Googled fish and chips and came upon this recipe by Tyler Florence. It had great reviews and the word 'English' right there in the title. Sold.

So here is how the weekend played out:

We had beautiful weather. Hot, but not muggy like the city has been. We splashed, we built sandcastles, we enjoyed the view. Some of us jumped off trampolines and slid down slides. Some of us jumped off docks and paddled boats. Some of us (okay - me) sat on the dock and had a ring-side seat to all of the fun while enjoying a great book. And then came fish and chips. I was so pleased with how these turned out. A couple of years ago we had a fried-chicken fiasco at the cottage so I wasn't all that confident that this fish would work out. We had both cod and haddock, which we cut up into small fillets. The fillets were dredged in rice flour then dunked in the batter, which was a simple combination of flour, baking powder, salt, egg and soda water. After dredging and dunking the fish were floated into a nice hot oil bath that was set up outside on the deck. (We cooked the chips ahead of time and refreshed them in the hot oil just before serving). Both the fish and the chips got rave reviews. They were served with malt vinegar, tartar sauce and a chopped salad. Definitely a dish I will be looking to make again at the cottage.

English-Style Fish and Chips



Heat 3-inches of the oil in a deep fryer to 325 degrees F. Alternately, heat 3-inches of oil in a deep pot.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into chips, about the size of your index finger. Put the potatoes in the oil. Fry the chips for 2 to 3 minutes; they should not be crisp or fully cooked at this point. Remove the chips with a spider strainer or slotted spoon, to a paper towel-lined platter to drain.
Crank the oil temperature up to 375 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and egg. Pour in the soda water and whisk to a smooth batter. Spread the rice flour on a plate. Dredge the fish pieces in the rice flour and then dip them into the batter, letting the excess drip off.
Put the chips in the bottom of the fryer basket and carefully submerge in the hot oil. Carefully wave the battered fish into the bubbling oil before dropping them in on top of the chips. Fry the fish and chips for 4 to 5 minutes until crispy and brown. Remove the basket and drain the fish and chips on paper towels; season lightly with salt. Serve wrapped in a newspaper cone with malt vinegar and/or tartar sauce.

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