If ever there was a British national dish, this has to be it. Loved from John O’Groats to Land’s End, fish and chips is the perfect Friday night supper.
A fisherman’s tale
In mid-19th-century Britain, the worlds of Irish immigrants – with their potato dominated diet – and Jewish fried fish vendors collided, and a national dish was born, spawning countless chippies on high streets and seaside piers up and down the land. About a quarter of all white fish and 10 per cent of the potatoes now sold in Britain are sold in fish and chip shops. Not to mention the pickled onions and eggs, curry sauce and mushy peas that go with them.
- Prep time 20 minutes
- Cooking time 40 minutes
- Total time 60 minutes
- Portion size 4 servings
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
Place the chips on the tray and toss with the olive oil. Season with salt and cook in the oven for 40 minutes, turning once, until crisp and golden.
Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Whisk in the lager until you have a smooth, lump-free batter with the consistency of double cream – it should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Pour enough sunflower oil into a large, deep and heavy pan to come halfway up the sides. Heat over medium heat until a cube of bread sizzles and crisps up within 30 seconds of being dropped into the oil.
Season the fish fillets with salt and freshly ground black pepper and dust lightly with flour. Dip 2 fillets into the batter, shaking off any excess. Using tongs, carefully lower the fillets into the hot oil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until crisp, golden and cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 fillets.
Meanwhile, place the peas in a pan of boiling water and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat. Drain, reserving 2 tbsp cooking water. Stir the mint, crème fraîche and reserved water into the peas. Crush with a fork and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with the fish and chips, with lemon wedges on the side.
Self-raising flour – a.k.a. self-rising flour; flour with leavener added, usually baking powder (sometimes baking soda), often available in Canadian supermarkets.
Lager – light-bodied beer
Adding ice-cold lager makes the batter light, crunchy and irresistible.
Nutritional facts Per serving: about
- Sodium 1100 mg
- Sugars 7.2 g
- Calories 902
- Total fat 24.5 g
- Saturated fat 4.9 g