I’m not going to bother with a painful soliloquy of how fish and chips are an institution in my homeland. They are, and you know it.
What I will tell you is that my local chippy bloke is happy to see me on my annual visits back home (sans covid), and he remembers me from when I would pop in with my Dad in THE FUCKING ’90’s.
I’ll never be able to recreate his magic but I have a quick weeknight solution for when the homesick hits hard; simple, yummy with a little bit of pomp (because, British). This is not the greatest fish and chips in the world, this is a tribute (of a tribute).
What you need:
- Firm white fish fillets (I use Cod or Haddock; one per person)
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- Spices of your choice for fish dredge (see recipe for ideas)
- Approximately 200g fingerling potatoes
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2tbsp grapeseed or olive oil
- 2tsp champagne vinegar
- 1tbsp your favourite honey
What to do:
Preheat your oven to 425f (220c or gas mark bloody hot). Slice your potatoes in half (leave any tiny ones whole if you like) and add them to a roasting tray lined with parchment if you want to avoid stick-age. Crush both garlic cloves (unpeeled), add them to the tray and then drizzle over your oil, your honey of choice and a ton of black pepper; mix it up. Hold back on the vinegar and any salt right now though, those will come later.
Note on the honey; I currently use the Spanish Orange Blossom Honey from Fortnum and Mason because little doses of home is what makes me happy. It’s light in taste but has just enough flavour to bring out the butteryness of the fingerlings. Don’t like my boujee style? Don’t care. Let’s move on.
Once your oven is up to temperature, chuck the spuds in and set your timer for 40 minutes.
When half an hour has vanished into the fabric of our universe, take a non stick frying pan and pop it on a medium heat to warm up while you get your fish sorted.
You’ll need two dishes/shallow bowls. One that will hold the beaten egg, and the other that will hold the flour and any spices of your choice. I like to keep things simple and use garlic powder, mustard powder, salt and pepper. If you want to switch things up here some sumac or smoked paprika would be welcome. Dried dill is absolutely a good choice but I find it’s easy to go overboard with it, so don’t get all salt-bae on me with the dill.
Tippy top tip! To get this basic bitch coating to stick as much as possible, make sure to thoroughly pat your fish fillets dry with kitchen towel before dredging them. No one wants a soggy fish, except maybe the fish when he was alive. But it’s a bit late for that.
When your pan is hot, add a few tablespoons of oil to it (aiming for a shallow fry). Arrange your egg dish and flour mix dish close to the pan to make things easier. We’re going for a double dredge here; one fillet goes into the flour, press it in and make sure it’s covered. Then to the egg, again, thoroughly coated, then back to the flour, coat it again. When coating with the flour, don’t be shy, press it in firmly. You’re eating this animal, all niceties went out the window a while ago.
Once you’ve coated a fillet, add it to the pan then do the other one quickly and add that too. The fish won’t take long to cook; if the fillet is thin like the one in my picture, only a few minutes on each side. Don’t rush flipping it though; as aforementioned, this is technically known as a basic bitch coating. We want to disturb it as little as possible to ensure it has the most chance of sticking to the fish itself.
As your fish is finishing up in the pan, grab your potatoes and give them a toss around; add the vinegar and some salt and they should be tender, caramelized and just fucking delightful. Leave them to the side as you finish the fishy.
Place said fishy, on a dishy. Add your boujee chips. Dollop some tartar sauce on the side and there you have it. Easy, simple but just so bloody satisfying.
Cry, munch, enjoy.