CLASSIC FISH AND CHIPS

Nothing beats a piece of cod cooked to a crisp with freshly made chips on the side. The batter should be light and crisp, but not too greasy and the fish should melt in the mouth. Serve with lime wedges if you really want to show off. The secret of cooking fish and chips successfully is to make sure the oil is fresh and clean. Heat the oil to the correct temperature before cooking the chips and again before adding the fish. Serve the dish immediately, while still crisp and piping hot.

SERVES FOUR
INGREDIENTS
  • 450 g / 1 lb potatoes
  • groundnut (peanut) oil for deep-frying
  • 4x175 g / 6 oz cod fillets, skinned
  • lemon wedges, to garnish
For the batter
  • 75 g / 3 oz / ⅔ cup plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 10 ml / 2 tsp oil
  • salt
VARIATIONS
Although cod is the traditional choice for fish and chips, you can also use haddock. Rock salmon, sometimes sold as huss or dogfish, also has a good flavor. It has a central length of cartilage which cannot be removed before cooking otherwise the pieces of fish will fall apart but can be easily prised out once the fish is served.
COOK'S TIPS
  • Use fresh rather than frozen fish for the very best texture and flavor. If you have to use frozen fish, thaw it thoroughly and make sure it is dry before coating with batter.
  • Ideally, you should use fresh oil for deep-frying each time, it is can usually be safely re-used once more. Do not use the same oil repeatedly, as it gradually breaks down and will smoke or even ignite quite easily. Long storage may cause it to turn rancid. After the first use, cool, then strain the oil to remove any debris. Remember, too, that the oil will be flavored, to some extent, by the food first cooked in it.
  • People keeping an eye on their fat intake may not realize that deep-fried foods absorb less fat during cooking than shallow-fried foods. This is because the initial submersion in the oil, providing it has been heated to the correct temperature, quickly seals the outside, preventing any more fat from being absorbed by the food.
  1. Cut the potatoes into 5 mm / ¼ in thick slices. Cut each slice again to make 5 mm / ¼ in chips (French fries).
  2. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 180°C / 350°F. Add the chips to the fryer and cook for 3 minutes, then remove from the pan and shake off all fat and set to one side.
  3. To make the batter, sift the flour into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients with a pinch of salt. Beat well until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. Cook the chips again in the fat for a further 5 minutes or so, until they are really nice and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and season with salt. Keep hot in a low oven while you cook the pieces of fish.
  5. Dip the fish into the batter, making sure they are evenly coated, and shake off any excess.
  6. Carefully lower the fish into the fat and cook for 5 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper. Serve with lemon wedges and the chips.
Classic Fish and Chips