Saturday, August 6, 2011

Beer Battered Fish 'N Chips: Britain's best culinary achievement

The Brits don't generally score many points for their cuisine, but they do get kudos for inventing fish 'n chips. Beer-battered cod with tartar sauce, French fries, and a crisp veggie salad hit the spot on a lazy Friday night. My husband enthusiastically went back for a second helping after devouring the first.  One look at this picture will explain why:


1 lb sturdy white fish such as true cod or halibut
1 cup beer
1 cup flour
3-4 medium yellow potatoes
canola oil
fry thermometer


1.  Pour 8 oz. of beer into a bowl on the counter to let it warm slightly.  Enjoy the rest at the proper drinking temperature.  :)

2.  Peel the potatoes, slice into thin rounds, and then slice again into fries.

3.  Cut the cod into strips, no wider than 1 inch across.  Small pieces fry more quickly.

{Note:  if serving with a salad, vegetable, tartar sauce, or other cold side item, prepare it before moving to the next steps.}

4.  Pour about 2 inches of canola oil into a pot and heat it to 325 F degrees.

5.  Add sliced potatoes to the oil using a slotted spoon.  Fry for 6 minutes.  Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb excess oil.  (Note:  Fry in batches to avoid overcrowding.)

6.  Allow fries to cool on the plate.  They will look pale after this first fry, but should be cooked through.

7.  Slowly add flour to the beer, whisking to combine.  If desired, the batter can be lightly spiced with Old Bay, garlic, paprika, or salt.  (Personally, I rely on good beer for flavor.)

8.  Heat the oven to 200 F.

9.  Dredge the fish pieces in the batter.  Add a test piece to the hot oil (325 F) and fry until the batter looks golden.  Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon, cut it open, and check that the fish is cooked through.

10.  Add additional pieces of battered fish to the oil in batches, careful not to crowd too many at once or they will stick together.  When removed, blot off excess oil with a paper towel, and keep the cooked fish warm in the oven.

11.  When all fish pieces are cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove and discard any batter drippings left behind in the fry oil.

12.  Raise the oil temperature to 375 F.

13.  Add french fries back to the hot oil, frying for 1-2 minutes until they are golden-brown.  Remove to a plate with the slotted spoon, and blot off excess oil with a paper towel.  Lightly salt or spice the fries to taste.

I like to serve fish 'n chips with homemade tartar sauce.  I combine 4 tbsp mayo with 1 tbsp relish and 1 tsp lemon juice.  A raw veggie salad is a nice counterpoint to fried food.  To make the salad I show here, combine cucumber, carrot, purple onion, and dill weed with a splash of white wine vinegar and olive oil.  Malt vinegar is also a nice touch for the fish or fries.  Pair with your favorite microbrew or a dry white wine.


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