If Charles Dickens could have sat down with William Shakespeare for a little chat, we know he would have set the bard straight. When it comes to choosing the right London pub for Fish and Chips, it’s never an ado about nothing. The details do matter. Are the mushy peas mushy enough? Do the edges of the fried cod curl into tiny ridges? And do they serve malt vinegar at the table? All extremely important questions to be considered. For research purposes, we kept ordering this dish until the pubs threw us out. So, we decided to perfect our own recipe. After a lot of smoke alarms and a few burnt cod, we think we hit the mark. We’re pretty sure our recipe for fish and chips would definitely have Oliver Twist begging for more, please.
BT’s FISH & CHIPS RECIPE
Serves 4 Total Time: 60 Minutes [25 minutes preparation; 35 minutes cooking]
WHAT YOU NEED
The Fish The Chips
2 cups all-purpose flour 4 quarts safflower oil
1 tablespoon baking powder 4 large Russet potatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt Kosher salt to taste
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅛ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
6 fluid ounces seltzer
6 fluid ounces beer (BT suggests Boddingtons ale)
4 fillets (6 ounces each) of firm-fleshed whitefish (tilapia, pollock, or cod)
1 cup cornstarch, for dredging
WHAT TO DO
1. Preheat the oven to 200℉ (93.33℃). Heat oil in a deep 6 quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until it registers 325℉ (163℃) on a thermometer.
2. Peel potatoes and halve them lengthwise, then cut lengthwise again into ½-inch-thick wedges. Transfer the cut pieces immediately into a large bowl of ice and cold water while the oil comes to temperature.
3. When the oil is at temperature, drain the potatoes and dry them thoroughly with paper towels. Fry one-third of the potatoes in the safflower oil, dropping in one at a time to keep the potatoes from sticking together. Fry until well browned, about 5 minutes each batch. Drain and transfer with a slotted spoon to fresh paper towels.
4. Fry the remaining potatoes in batches, making sure the oil heats back up to 325℉ (163℃) between batches. Once the residual oil has been absorbed by the paper towel, season with kosher salt then transfer the fries to a foil-lined baking sheet into the preheated oven.
5. Once the potatoes are staying warm in the oven, raise the oil temperature to 375℉ (190.5℃).
6. Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and Old Bay seasoning in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the seltzer and beer. Whisk one cup of the liquid mixture into the dry mixture bowl to create the batter. The batter should be the consistency of heavy cream, so add more beer/seltzer mixture until you get the right consistency. Keep the batter chilled until use. *
7. Put 1 cup cornstarch in a shallow bowl or plate and coat your fish completely, then dip the fish into the batter allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Working in two batches, gently slide the battered fish into the hot oil.
8. Fry until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes for each fish. Remove from the oil and hold in the preheated oven while you fry the remaining fillets.
9. Plate your fried fish with the potato fries. Serve with malt vinegar and a side of English peas.
* BT Tip: The batter can be made up to 1 hour ahead of cooking time.