Business creations: Fish and chips is a popular British take-out food, composed of battered and breaded fish deep-fried in oil with a side of deep-fried potatoes. Surprisingly easy, especially if you have a deep-fryer, this classic dish is famous on both sides of the Atlantic for a good reason.
1. Get the Ingredients
- 2 large (8-ounce) cod or haddock fillets
- 3-4 large Russet potatoes
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 2 cups of flour, plus 1/2 cup separate for dredging
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black or cayenne pepper (both for spicier fish)
- 1 can brown beer or 1 beaten egg + 12-ounces soda water
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper and/or salt (optional)
- 1/2 cup of either cold water, buttermilk, or cold beer
2. Chop your potatoes into long fries, roughly the thickness of your index finger.
- Rinse and scrub the outside of the potatoes to remove dirt. Leave the skin.
- Cut the potato in half, lengthwise.
- Take your two halves and cut them in half again, this time through the sides. You should be left with four “planks” of potato.
- Cut these planks into strips.
- Cut the strips, if desired, into shorter individual fries.
3. Optionally, soak the potatoes in cold water for 1-2 hours.
- These fries could even soak overnight if you feel like working in advance.
- Make sure, if you plan to soak the potatoes, the oil isn’t burning on your stove!
4. Get a deep pan and coat the bottom with three inches of vegetable oil, heating to 325F degrees.
A large dutch oven or a deep-fryer will work best. You will need to know how hot the oil is to get the best results, as the fries and fish need to cook at different temperatures for both to come out fully cooked but still tender.
- If you don’t have a thermometer, but want to go for it anyway, use medium heat for 325F and medium high for 372F (needed later). Give the oil 2-3 minutes to adjust when changing temperature.
5. Fry the chips so they are covered completely in hot oil for 2-3 minutes.
When they come out, they will be pale and floppy. This is good! They shouldn’t be completely cooked the first time, as this leads to soggy, not so delicious chips.
6. Let the chips cool to room temperature before frying the second time.
Remove the chips from the hot oil and drain them on a plate full of paper towels. You’ll re-fry the chips again after the fish has cooked, which will get them golden brown and delicious.
- The reason for a double-fry is surprisingly complex: water in the potato is bound up in the starch, with less water in the outer edges that you cut through and more in the centers. In the first fry, this water is driven out, but the water in the center only makes it to the edge of the potato, where it forms a coating with the oil and starch as it cools to room temperature. The second fry crisps up this
7. Increase the temperature of the oil to 375F.
Turn up to medium and let the oil get nice and hot while you prepare the batter for the fish fry. The oil should not be dirty from the potatoes, as it takes a while to overuse oil, but if it is discolored then you should replace the oil and re-heat it.
8. Whisk together your batter in a bowl and set aside for 15 minutes in the fridge.
If you’re in a rush, you don’t need to actually let the batter sit, though this does help the flavours blend slightly. You’ll not that the ingredients have two different liquid components — a beer-batter and a more traditional egg + water batter. One cup of milk or buttermilk could also be substituted, depending on your tastes and kitchen supplies.
- The batter will be thin and liquidy — this is fine.
- This recipe uses 2 cups of flour. Save the other 1/2 cup for the next step.
9. Toss the potatoes back into the hot oil for 2-3 minutes to finish cooking.
The oil should be 375F, and the potatoes should be room temperature. This method will develop the delicious, golden-brown crunch of great chips. Most cooks will remove the potatoes from the oil before proceeding, keeping them hot in the oven after draining once more on paper towels.
- Adventurous cooks can go the traditional way and cook the fish on the potatoes. To do so, skip ahead and prepare the fish, then add the potatoes right before you add the fish in. Remove together and drain at the same time.
10. Lightly dredge the fish in flour to help the batter stick.
- The entire fish should be dusted with flour when done.
11. Dunk a piece of fish in the batter with tongs, coating completely.
12. Still holding by the tail, dip the fish in the hot oil, swirling it around until the outside sets.
13. Cook each fish until golden brown, roughly 2-3 minutes.
14. Drain everything on newspaper (or paper towels) and liberally add salt.
- Add the salt while everything is still hot to help it spread out better.