Making Fish & Chips
When I was in the 7th grade, I had a Food Technology (Home Ec) teacher who is everything a bright-eyed food enthusiast would want in a cooking class. When we did salads he explained (to those who would listen) how pieces of a Granny-Smith apple could change a plate of ordinary Chicken Caesar Salad. When we did pasta he explained how there’s no real shame in using a bouillon cube. On the day we did pastry, he told me how hearing the crunch of spring rolls reminded him of the crunch of fish & chips. He then proceeded to give a rather graphic description on how you can buy fish & chips wrapped up in newspaper and how you should immediately open the parcel, put some vinegar and salt and devour it on the spot. And so this slight twist on the classic English Fish & Chips is dedicated to Mr. Raymond Scully, who poured oil onto the fire that is my passion for food.
Sparkling Water (or beer) Battered Fish:
[ 1 cup flour + 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided + 1/2 cup cold sparkling water, or cold beer + 1 teaspoon black pepper + 1 pounds fillets of firm-fleshed whitefish ]
I know the batter recipe might seem like a far cry from the original, but I wanted to preserve the taste of the fish and kept it simple. I’m using Grouper fish fillets here, but any fillet of firm fish would work.
Heat oven to 200 degrees F.
Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper and cut into 1-ounce strips
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and pepper.
Whisk in the sparkling water until the batter reaches thick pancake batter consistency and is completely smooth and free of any lumps. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
**While you’re waiting for the batter, you can prepare the chips
Garlic - Parsley Chips:
[Oil (safflower or sunflower etc) + 4 large potatoes + Kosher salt + A bunch of parsley + 2 cloves of garlic ]
Heat enough oil to fill 1/2 to 3/4 of a dutch oven or deep-fat fryer over high heat (if you have a thermometer: until it reaches 320 degrees)
Chop the parsley and garlic and set aside.
Slice the potatoes with the skin on. Place in a large bowl with cold water and then drain, removing any excess water.
Working in small batches, fry for 2 to 3 minutes until they are pale and floppy. Remove from oil, drain, and cool to room temperature.
Increase the temperature of the oil to 375 degrees. Re-immerse fries and cook until crisp and golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove and drain on roasting rack. Toss with salt, pepper, garlic and parsley while hot and put in the oven to keep warm.
**Now get back to finishing the fish
Working in small batches, dip the fish into batter and immerse into hot oil.
When the batter is set, turn the pieces of fish over and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain the fish on the roasting rack.
Serve the fish & chips hot with malt vinegar.