Fish and crisps

  • Preparation Time15 mins
  • Cooking Time75 mins
  • Serves6
  • DifficultyMedium
900g maris piper potatoes, scrubbed
420g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp fine salt, plus more as needed
Two 350ml bottles beer, lager-style preferred
900g center-cut cod fillet (scrod), trimmed and bones removed
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Freshly ground black pepper
Malt vinegar

For the tartar sauce

240g mayonnaise
1 1/2 tbsp chopped capers
1 tbsp finely chopped cornichons
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 to 3 drops hot sauce
1 small spring onion (white and green), minced
1) Slice the potatoes about 1/8-cm thin with a vegetable slicer or mandolin. Transfer to a large bowl and soak in tepid water for 30 minutes.

2) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and the 2 tsp salt. Pour in the beer and whisk to form a smooth batter. Set aside.

3) Pat the fish very dry. Cut the fish lengthwise into 2 1/2 by 7-cm strips.

4) Pour enough oil into a tall heavy-bottomed pot so it comes about a third of the way up the sides. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep frying thermometer inserted in the oil registers 185 degrees C. While the oil heats, drain and spin the potatoes dry in a salad spinner. Spread them out on a pan and pat completely dry with kitchen towels.

5) Preheat the oven to 95 degrees C. Working in small batches, fry the potatoes until golden brown, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the chips to a kitchen towel-lined pan to drain. Season with salt to taste. (Make sure to let the oil come back to 185 degrees before frying each batch.) Transfer the potatoes to the oven to keep warm.

6) Season the fish with the salt and pepper. Working in batches, dip the fish strips in the batter to coat evenly. Carefully add to the oil. Fry the fish, turning once, until golden and crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a kitchen towel-lined pan to drain. Keep the fish warm on a heatproof platter in the oven while you fry the remaining fish. (Just like with the potatoes, make sure the oil returns to temperature before adding more fish.)

7) Serve the fish with chips and malt vinegar and/or tartar sauce.

Cook's Note: For a thicker and puffier crust on the fish, dredge the strips in flour, pat off the excess and then dip in the batter. Do not fry too many pieces of fish at once or the oil temperature will drop too low and the fish will be greasy.

8) For the tartar sauce: In a small mixing bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, capers, cornichons, parsley, lemon juice, tarragon, lemon zest, hot sauce, and spring onion. Refrigerate for 30 minutes for the flavours to come together. Serve.

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