Fish and chips are about as much of a British staple food as the good old Victoria sponge. However, they are also a dish where much can go wrong, as anyone who has ever fought their way through greasy fried fish and raw-in-the-middle chips will confirm. If you want to make sure you get this dish right then here are a few handy hints for how to make sure your fish and chips are spot on.
Pick your fish carefully – you should make an effort to buy the best fish that you can afford. Swathing everything in batter and then ketchup is all very well but a quality piece of fish can really make this dish so it’s worth investing in if you want to get it right. Opt for the freshest fish you can get your hands on and make sure that it has some eco credentials and comes from a sustainable source.
Make a proper batter – because this is the part of a fish and chip dish that will either make it or break it. Beer is a popular choice as an ingredient to add into fish and chip batter but it’s a good idea to choose a pale one or the batter is most likely to come out look burned. It’s important to use vegetable oil rather than lard to fry your fish and keep the batter extremely cold for as long as possible before using it.
Cook it properly – do not leave your fish frying and just walk out of the room as this is a recipe for disaster both in terms of ending up with a cremated dinner and setting your house on fire…Make sure your oil is nice and hot before the fish goes in, as the fish will cook more quickly this way and so absorb less oil and end up being less greasy. If you don’t want to use a chip pan or deep fat fryer then go for baking as a method of cooking the fish, or pan-frying.
Do proper chips! – because there’s nothing like home made chips to making you feel like you’re getting a treat. Beef dripping will give you really tasty and attractive chips but if you don’t want to cook them in a fryer you can very easily oven bake the chips instead. You will need a potato like the King Edward for excellent chips, as it is a dry potato that has a floury texture. Try and make sure your chips are all the same size so that they will cook at the same rate when you put them in the oil. You can double cook them by frying them off until golden the day before you want to eat them, leaving them in the fridge overnight and then frying once more the next day before you eat them.
Opt for a healthier alternative if you need to – because you can still enjoy great fish and chips without having a guilty conscience. Go for baking instead of frying, spring water in your batter instead of beer, a tempura batter instead of a fatty batter, and a thinner cut of fish to stop it absorbing too much cooking fat.
However you choose to make your fish and chips, if you follow these few helpful tips then you’ve got a great chance of making the perfect fish supper every time. Throw in a few mushy peas and some tartar sauce and you’ve got a heartwarming dish that will lift spirits, fill bellies and get you a great reputation as a top class fish fryer!
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