There is perhaps nothing more quintessentially British, than a steaming basket of fish and chips. Coated in salt and doused in vinegar, this simple fare shows you that some dishes are made better when you stick to basics. This dish is the perfect grab-and-go-meal, served wrapped in paper.
Did you know that there are nearly 9,000 fish and chips shops in Britain (that’s 8 fish and chips shops for every 1 McDonald’s). Looking to try this English favorite at home? Try this classic recipe for traditional British fish and chips on National Tatar Sauce Day.
Authentic “Chippy” Beer-Battered Fish and Chips
• 1.5-2 pounds cod (haddock, Pollock, crappie or tilapia can be substituted)
• 3 pounds Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon table salt
• 1 tablespoon pepper
• 1 tablespoon sea salt
• ½ tablespoon garlic powder
• ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
• Dash of Old Bay seasoning
• 1 bottle/can lager
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 2 quarts vegetable or peanut oil
1. Pre-heat oven to 250F (this will be used to keep fried fish warm while the chips are fried a second time).
2. Heat oil in a large pan until it reaches 325F.
3. While oil is heating, cup potatoes into thick fry wedges or classic chipped rounds. Lay cut potatoes on kitchen paper or a kitchen towel to keep them as dry as possible, increasing the crispiness.
4. Add chips to the oil and fry for 8 minutes. (They should be about 90% cooked but still soft. They will not pass the essential crisp test.)Take them out and set aside. Turn heat on the oil up until it reaches 400F.
5. Combine 1 cup flour with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon pepper. In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sea salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and old bay. Stir in 2 beaten eggs. Slowly whisk in cold beer. The batter should be free of any lumps. Refrigerate batter for 15 minutes (batter can be pre-made up to an hour in advance).
6. Dip the fish in the first flour mixture, then dredge the fish into the wet batter and gently add fish into the hot oil. Allow the crust to set for a few seconds while on the utensil before releasing the fish into the oil. This prevents the fish from sticking together in the oil. Cook for 6-8 minutes. Remove fish when they are golden brown and place on kitchen paper in the oven to stay hot. Repeat until all fish are cooked and in the oven.
7. Add the pre-cooked chips back into the 400F oil and quickly fry for 3 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper. Fries should have the traditional English crispy exterior with a fluffy, moist interior. Lay chips on kitchen paper for a few seconds to drain excess oil.
8. Serve immediately with salt, vinegar and tartar sauce. Serve in newspaper-lined baskets for the classic English fish and chips.