Monday, January 28, 2008

Time for fish 'n' chips, innit?

The weather this weekend was very British indeed. Rainy, windy, dark & depressing. But when a storm sets in, it's the perfect excuse to get cozy in one's local pub (or living room), build a fire, play some darts, drink some Guinness and eat some anglo comfort food. With that in mind, we went UK all the way and fried up a batch of fish 'n' chips.

Note: these are not my recipes. The fish combo was improvised by my sis-in-law Adriana and the chip recipe is from Cook's magazine. As an aside, both are gluten free if you're dining with any diet-restricted types. But if you're throwing culinary care to the wind, you can substitute any old beer for the gluten-free varieties listed here. Regardless, this combo makes the lightest, most delicate & delicious batter, almost like tempura.

Serve with peas & malt vinegar to enjoy a taste of merry old England.

Fish and Chips

2 lbs cod fillet, boned
1 cup rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
3/4 cup Bard's Tale or Redbridge Beer (add a bit more if needed to make batter more liquid)
2 eggs
Veggie oil to fill wok-style pan 1/2" deep

Preheat oven to 250

Gently wash the fish in cold water, making sure to pat the fillets dry with plenty of paper towels. For large fillets, you may want to cut the fish into smaller pieces, making sure to remove any bones before battering.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix beer and eggs separtely then stir into dry ingredients, mix until mixture is smooth. Place fish fillets in batter mixture; coat well, and let stand for 10-15 minutes

Heat oil to 350, gently place small batches of fish in oil to avoid dropping the oil temperature. Fry until golden brown, about 5 - 8 minutes, turning the fillets regularly to prevent scorching the batter.

Remove fish to paper towels to drain excess oil. Keep warm in oven until all the fish are cooked.

Oven Fries

5 russet potatoes peeled, each potato cut lengthwise into 10- 12 evenly sized wedges
5 tablespoons peanut oil
Coarse salt and black pepper

Adjust the oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 475. Place potatoes in large bowl and cover with hot tap water. Soak 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coat heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with 4 tbsp oil and sprinkle evenly with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, set aside.

Drain potatoes and spread them out on triple layer of paper towels and thoroughly pat dry with additional paper towels. Rinse and wipe out empty bowl; return potatoes to bowl and toss with remaining 1 tbsp oil. Arrange potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet; cover tightly with foil and bake 5 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until bottoms of potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15 -20 minutes, rotating baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using metal spatula and tongs, scrape to loosen potatoes from pan, then flip each wedge, keeping potatoes in a single layer. Continue baking until fries are golden and crisp, 5 - 15 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed if fries are browning unevenly.

Transfer fries to a second baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve.


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