Classic Fish and Chips are a British institution, and they are one of our national dishes and everyone loves them. You can buy them from one of the thousands of fish and chip shops all over the country - including the world famous Harry Ramsdens - or you can make them at home. By classic, it means fish and chips as they have always been using either Cod, Pollock or Haddock, a deep crispy batter and chips, not fries.
For the best fish and chips, choose the freshest fish you can find, frozen is also fine but make sure it is thoroughly defrosted and dried with kitchen paper first.
Prepare the batter and only dip the fish at the last moment before plunging into hot oil to fry. This way you will always have a light and crisp snap to the batter.
Use a floury potato for the chips; the best varieties are King Edward, Maris Piper and Sante.
- For the Fish:
- 2 ounces/55 grams all purpose flour
- 2 ounces/55 grams corn starch
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup beer (dark beer)
- 1/3 cup sparkling water
- 4 fish fillets (7 ounces each; thick, white fish preferably sustainable cod, pollock, or haddock)
- For the Chips:
- 2 pounds potatoes (peeled)
- 1 liter vegetable oil (or lard or dripping to cook)
- In a large roomy bowl mix the all but two tablespoons of the flour, cornflour and baking powder. Season lightly with a tiny pinch of salt and pepper.
- Using a fork, and whisking continuously, add the beer and the water to the flour mixture and continue mixing until you have a thick, smooth batter. Place the batter in the fridge to rest for between 30 minutes and an hour.
- Cut the potatoes into 1cm slices then slice these into 1cm-wide chips. Place the chips into a colander and rinse under cold running water.
- Place the washed chips into a pan of cold water, bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 3 - 4 minutes. Drain carefully through a colander then dry with kitchen paper. Keep in the fridge covered with kitchen paper until needed
- Meanwhile, lay the fish fillets on a sheet of kitchen paper and pat dry. Season very lightly with a little sea salt.
- Heat the oil to 250F in a deep-fat fryer or large, deep saucepan. Blanch the chips a few handfuls at a time in the fat for a couple of minutes. Do not brown them. Once the chips are slightly cooked remove them from the fat and drain. Keep to one side.
- Place the 2 tbsp of flour reserved from the batter mix into a shallow bowl. Toss each fish fillet in the flour, shake off any excess, dip into the batter then carefully lower each fillet into the hot oil. Fry for approx 8 minutes or until the batter is crisp and golden, turning the fillets from time to time with a large slotted spoon.
- Using the same slotted spoon, once cooked remove the fillets from the hot oil, drain on kitchen paper, cover with greaseproof paper and keep hot.
- Heat the oil to 400F then cook the chips until golden and crisp about 5 mins. Serve immediately with the hot fish accompanied by your favorite condiment. The debate always rages over what to serve.