Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fish and Chips

A warm, yummy lunch after freezing my ass off in the ocean.

Spring break is here and the beach is packed with a bunch of people I've never seen before. That's okay. They are easy enough to get around. This morning I surfed a spot that took a long time to get dialed in at. It's one of those spots that awards skill and confounds the novice. Having put in a lot of time there, I got the waves I wanted then went in. It's not that I have a ton of skill (I don't); it's just that I have the place wired from years of effort.

     The recipe for the fish and chips is one of those dishes that took me a while to get dialed in. Part of it is that I like nice thick steak fries. As a result, it's important to cook the fries on a lower temp than one might normally use. I also had to tinker with a way to make sure the batter sticks to the fish. Once I got these elements under control, I was set. But success only came after failure. Just like surfing. I only have a few spots wired because of a series of humiliating ass kickings.

     When preparing the fish and chips, prepare the chips first, then hold in the oven. The fish portion of the recipe is listed first only because "fish" comes first in "fish and chips." ;)


YieldServes 4


1 to 1 1/2 pounds fresh cod.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups milk, divided
1 egg
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
1. Soak the fish in 2 cups milk for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium-size mixing bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Stir in 1 cup milk and egg and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Let mixture stand for 20 minutes.

3. After 20 minutes pat the fish dry. Place 1/2 cup of flour on a plate, then coat both sides with a light layer of flour.

4. Next, dredge the fish in the batter, one piece at a time, and place them in the hot oil. Fry until the fish is golden brown. If necessary, increase the heat to maintain the 350 degrees F. Drain well on paper towels.

Prepare the chips first, then the fish. You can prep the fish while you are working on the chips, though.


4 servings

4-6 baking potatoes, like russets of similar size
1 quart vegetable or peanut oil
Kosher salt

1. Peel the potatoes, then cut them into wedges that are about the length and width of your index finger.

2. Cover the potatoes in cold water. Soak for about 1 hour, changing the water every 20 minutes. This will allow some of the starch to leach out, which will increase the crispiness.

3. Preheat a deep pot of oil to 300 degrees F.

4. Dry the potatoes with a salad spinner.

5. For the first fry, deep-fry potatoes in the oil for 4 to 6 minutes or until a light golden color. Do not overload fryer. Fry in 3 batches if necessary. Remove the potatoes using a slotted spoon or tongs, then allow them to cool to room temperature on a flattened brown paper grocery bag.

6. Raise the temperature of the oil to 350 degrees F.

7. For the second fry, deep-fry the potatoes for 2 minutes, or until crispy. The potatoes can go from crispy to burned very quickly, so be vigilant. Remove potatoes, then transfer onto the brown paper bag. While still hot, salt the potatoes.

I find that using a thermometer clipped to the pot is very helpful. When it comes to temperature, I find that it's better to error on the side of lower temp than a temp that's too high. I like thick fries, so they need time to cook through on the first round of frying.

It was cold and kind of crowded this morning, but still fun.

1 comment:

  1. You're a spoiler from way back! That's what you are, mister! So good and so comforting. I think I may just give up my day job!