Fish and chips is hugely popular in the UK and is probably the country's national dish. The type of white fish included in the recipe varies - particularly geographically - with haddock, plaice, and whiting all being popular, as well as the Atlantic cod used in this instance. The fish will normally be breaded or battered before it is deep or shallow fried but here it is merely seasoned and lightly floured, making it a slightly healthier option. The biggest difference in this recipe is that the potato skins are also deep fried and served on the plate, both to cut down on food waste and add an additional texture to the dish.
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 1 large baking potato
- 1 small to medium carrot
- 6 ounce, thick chunk of skinless cod fillet
- 2 tablespoons all purpose (plain) flour
- Black pepper
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 tablespoon frozen peas
It is important when peeling the potato to remove the skin in approximately equal sized strips. You also want them to be about an eighth of an inch thick so you may find it easier to use a knife than a conventional vegetable peeler.
Start by nicking a little bit of the skin off each end as shown in the above image. These are the only two bits of peel which should be discarded.
Peel a strip of skin approximately an inch wide from the potato. Work your way around the circumference in the same way until the potato is peeled. You should have approximately six to eight strips of skin.
Put the skins in to a small bowl and pour in enough cold water to ensure they are all fully submerged. Cover the bowl and set aside.
Slice the peeled potato length ways to around three-quarters of an inch. Chop each slice to around half an inch thickness to form the chips. Put the chips in to a pot or large bowl and add plenty of cold water. Leave to steep for at least ten to fifteen minutes to get rid of some of the starch.
Drain the chips at your sink through a colander and return them to the empty pot. Pour in plenty of fresh cold water and season with a little salt. Put the pot on to a high heat until the water starts to simmer. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer for five minutes.
Drain the chips again at your sink and allow them to steam off for a few minutes to get rid of the excess moisture.
When the steam has stopped rising from the chips, lay them in a single layer in a suitable dish and place them in the fridge for a minimum half hour. The cold, dry air will dry them out and make them more suited to their first deep frying.
Deep frying in modern times is normally undertaken in a dedicated, electric deep fryer. I prefer to use a deep frying pan with some oil added but if you are using a deep fryer, preheat it for this first frying of the chips to 300F (150C) before adding the chips straight from the fridge. Fry for around three minutes. They should not become golden at this stage, just effectively complete cooking all the way through. Use a deep frying spider to lift them to a plate covered with kitchen paper, allow to cool and return to the dried dish and the fridge for a further minimum thirty minutes.
When the chips have been in the fridge for about twenty minutes, peel or scrape the carrot and dice to around half an inch. Add the pieces to a pot of cold, lightly salted water and put on a high heat until the water reaches a simmer. Continue to simmer gently for a total of ten minutes.
When the carrot is simmering, put your deep fryer or pot of oil on to heat to a fairly high setting (350F/170C). Pour a little oil in to a non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a moderate heat.
Scatter some flour on a plate. Season the cod fillet on both sides with salt and pepper before patting in the flour. Lay the cod fillet in the frying pan. The time it takes to cook will vary depending upon the thickness. As a rough guide, start timing it and watch for it appearing from the side to have cooked half way through.
Put the chips on to deep fry for about four or five minutes at the higher heat until crisp and golden. Drain the potato peelings through a colander and pat dry with kitchen paper.
When it appears that the cod fillet has cooked half way through, allow a further minute of cooking before carefully turning it with a fish slice or spatula to cook for a similar period of time on the second side.
When the chips are done, lift them to a plate covered with a few sheets of kitchen paper to drain.
The potato skins should immediately be added to the pan vacated by the chips. They should only take about three minutes to turn beautifully golden and crisp up.
The frozen peas should be added to the pot with the carrot for its final three minutes' simmering time before the combination is drained at your sink through a colander.
Lift the potato skins on to a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain and you are ready to start plating up.
You can of course plate your meal any way you choose but I elected you use an oval plate. I started by arranging the peas and carrots across the middle of the plate as a bed for the cod fillet which I then lifted on top. The chips were arranged on one side of the cod fillet and the potato skins on the other.