Fish & Chips, now where do I start? I LOVE FISH & CHIPS, if anyone asks me what’s the main thing I miss about living in the UK, the answer’s always Fish & Chips….family and friends aside it is in fact the only thing I truthfully miss! F&Cs were our standard ‘too lazy too cook’ take away supper, usually on a Friday night, and even ranked above a curry!.
Obviously living in France you just don’t get F&Cs, these funny French people don’t know what they’re missing!. So I started to make my own…usually as a Friday or Saturday night treat for the family. Mine are way healthier as I don’t own a deep fat fryer. Nor do I ever want to, not for health and safety reasons you understand, but for the fact I know we would use it just a little too much!. My chips are oven baked and my fish breadcrumbed and fried in just a little oil. And do you know what, they’re really really good. Not the same as battered and deep fried, but still really good.
To save on time you could always breadcrumb a large batch of fish fillets or fingers and freeze them, then bring out and use just as you would shop bought ones. For the breadcrumb outer layer I use a 50/50 mix of breadcrumbs and polenta; the polenta adds a little extra crispy crunch.
And if you’re going to go to the trouble of making your own fish & chips, why not make some tartare sauce to have on the side?. I’ve really got into making my own mayonnaise lately (which is the base for tartare), and as long as you make it in a food processor you’ll be amazed at just how quick it is….and how good! Admittedly, the first time I attempted to make mayonnaise I did so by hand with a whisk, and whilst it tasted divine I wasn’t exactly in a hurry to be making any more! The recipe makes way too much for one meal, but keeps for up to a week in the fridge. A great excuse for another fishy dinner.
Fish & Chips for a family of four:
400g sustainable white fish fillets
2 tbsp plain flour
1 egg, beaten
a handful of white breadcrumbs
a handful of polenta
800g Desiree or other floury potatoes (about 3 large), peeled
salt & pepper
some lemon slices
Preheat your oven to as hot as it will go 230 – 250°C/Gas 9.
Cut the potatoes into 1 cm thick slices lengthways, then each slice into 1cm thick chips. Place in a large pan of boiling salted water and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the water and drain well.
Place the chips on a baking sheet or roasting pan, drizzle with a little sunflower oil, salt and pepper and mix well until all the chips are coated (there shouldn’t be any excess oil in the pan).
Place in the hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes, turning every few minutes to prevent burning. They’re ready when golden and crisp.
Whilst the chips are in the oven, prepare your fish. Check the fillets for bones and remove if you find any. Cut into two large grown up pieces and two smaller child size ones….or cut thin strips across the fish to make fish fingers (I make two per child).
Now assemble three large flat bottomed bowls or dishes. In the first place the flour, the second the beaten egg and in the third the breadcrumbs/polenta. Dip each fish piece first in the flour and completely coat, then in the egg (again completely coat) then the breadcrumbs.
Heat 3 tbsps of sunflower oil in a large frying pan until very hot. Add the fish pieces and fry for 5 to 8 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fish fillet) turning once until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
Serve immediately with the chips, slice of lemon, peas and tartare sauce.
Here’s a pic of Jacques eating his first ever takeaway fish & chips, whilst at my mum and dads house in the UK this summer. Needless to say he enjoyed them about as much as his mother!
½ level tsp salt
½ level tsp mustard powder
½ clove of garlic, peeled
100ml sunflower oil
75ml olive oil
1 dessertspoon lemon juice
1 tbsp flat leaved parsley
1 heaped tbsp rinsed capers
4 cornichons (baby gherkins)
Break the egg into your food processor and add the salt, mustard powder and garlic. Whiz up a little. Combine the two oils in a jug. With the food processor whizzing, start to add the oil (through the processor feeding tube) in a very slow steady trickle, pouring as slowly as possible. The mayo will seem very thin at first, don’t worry as the more oil you add the thicker it gets. Continue until all the oil has been incorporated.
Now add some pepper, the lemon juice, parsley, capers and cornichons to the processor and whiz again. It’s ready when it’s as course or fine as you want it to be. Adjust the salt, pepper and lemon juice to suit. Et voila tartare sauce made in minutes!