Monday, February 28

Fish and Chips

  My personal experience with Fish and Chips dates back all the way 2000, when I lived in London.  To my surprise, I found the best-tasting ones in my neighborhood.  I lived on the high street and the Golden Hind was just a stone's throw away, on Marylebone Lane.  It's a small shop that's not easy to miss because it's always packed.

What makes a good one you might ask?  In my opinion, the fish must be moist while the batter is crisp and, the potatoes should be fluffy inside.  But find room for your better judgement as this discussion can take hours or days at length in a local pub with almost every single person being an expert, having his/her own recipe to share.
Traditionally, Plaice, Cod, or Haddock are used along with Maris Piper potatoes in England.  But, living on a different continent, I had to settle with Cream Dory.   I don't use frozen fish but found myself making an exception because I wanted to try this interesting local pack.
Try this simple Pate a Frire (frying batter) recipe, which you may also use with oysters, prawns, and scallops:

150 grams of Corn Flour or Cornstarch
150 grams of Flour
15 grams of Baking Powder
150 ml of Milk
150ml of Beer (I used San Mig Light)
Nutmeg, Salt, and Pepper, to taste

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and form a well.  Pour the wet ingredients (milk and beer) and whisk.  Add seasoning.  You know you've arrived at the right consistency when it resembles double cream.  Let it rest for a few minutes covered with a cling film.  Then drop your fillets and allow to coat. 
Pre-heat your vegetable oil in a deep fat fryer at 180-190 degrees C.  I've had this Franke one for more than a decade and I'm giving it a really good review!  Deep-fry your fish until golden brown.  And allow it to dry off in  lined paper towels.
Deep-fry your chips using the same temperature and season with salt afterwards.  If you're a purist, you'd want to use another batch of oil so that the flavors are not influenced.
Like most of England (others like curry sauce, gravy, etc.), I love to eat mine with malt vinegar.  The Young Tongue's current obsession, on the other hand, is organic ketchup!  
I caught her candidly as she inspected, smelled, and gave her food the seal of approval!  Someday, I'll bring you to London, so we can eat our Fish and Chips wrapped in newspaper, which they say adds flavor to the dish!