12 August 2011

Fish and Chips, baby!

  • I visited Alaska a couple of weeks ago expecting to find all kinds of creative new uses for seafood.  I didn't find any.  What I did find was a whole bunch of smoked salmon and tasty fish and chips.  (BTW, Hangar on the Wharf, while touristy as hell, really does know what they're doing.)  Now I'm back in Colorado, where people have only had access to acceptable fish with which to cook for about a decade, and I am starting to miss the beautiful simplicity of a nice batch of crisp, fried cod and potatoes.  Ironically, this is the "seafood" I grew up on in Chicago, as well.  It seems that no matter where I go, people recognize that this is it.  Do whatever exotic things you want to your seafood--it might not ever get better than this.  

  • Easy Fish and Chips

Serves 6-8

  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs chopped rosemary
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold beer
  • 1/2 cup cold water 
  • Vegetable or canola oil, to deep-fry
  • 8 small fish fillets (I prefer cod)
  • Lemon wedges or malt vinegar, to serve

  • Preheat oven to 450°C. Cut unpeeled potatoes into thin wedges. Place potato in a medium bowl with olive oil and rosemary. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and gently toss to combine. Arrange potato on two greased oven trays. Bake, swapping tray positions halfway through cooking, for 35 minutes or until brown and crisp.

  • Meanwhile, sift flour into a medium bowl. Use a whisk to gradually whisk in beer and enough water to form a batter the consistency of thickened cream. Whisk until smooth. Set aside for 20 minutes to rest.

  • Place enough oil in a large, deep saucepan or wok to create a depth of 5 inches. Place over medium heat until you see faint wisps of smoke. Dip one fish fillet in batter and carefully lower into hot oil. If it sizzles and fries, you're ready to go.  Do not overcrowd skillet; cook two or three at a time.  Cook, turning occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat in three more batches with remaining batter and fish, reheating oil between batches.

  • Serve with lemon wedges.