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Fish and Chips

Updated: Feb 7

Flaky and moist fish fillets pair perfectly with homemade fries, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

Most people love to order Fish and Chips at their favorite seafood joint, but you can save a bundle by making it yourself at home. Choose whatever reasonably priced white fish you can find and make homemade fries from russet potatoes. This meal costs around $12 for 3-4 servings. You can make a good tartar sauce and still be under $15.

Many people have never tasted a freshly made fish filet- fried perfectly crisp on the outside and juicy and moist on the inside. Even in many restaurants, you get a premade frozen filet and mass-produced chips. Taste the difference that fresh fish makes- it will change how you look at fish and chips!

The Fish

Almost any white fish will make a good fried fish filet, but some are better. Americans will say that cod is the best fish for Fish and Chips, while a British person might choose haddock.

I chose Barramundi for my recipe since I can access reasonably priced and good-quality Barramundi. Wild Fork Foods sells three nice-sized Barramundi filets for just under a pound, for $7.48. Barramundi, known as "Asian sea bass," is sweet and buttery and holds together with a firm flesh. It is high in Omega-3, sustainable, and safe since it does not feed on other fish and is low in mercury. (Mercury is often of particular concern for pregnant women--direct questions to your physician.)

The Batter

The best batter for Fish and Chips is flour, cornstarch, baking soda, club soda or seltzer water, and seasoning. Yes, this is remarkably similar to Tempura batter, and you can use any leftover batter with vegetables like zucchini or mushrooms to make veggie tempura.

Always make this batter at the last minute--or mix the dry ingredients and wait to mix in the club soda/seltzer at the very last minute. The batter should have the consistency of a thin pancake batter. It's okay if it's a little lumpy. Go easy on this batter. You don't want gluten to form.

The fish should be washed and carefully dried with paper towels. Then, it should be dredged in a 50/50 mix of flour and cornstarch before being battered.

The Oil

While many people use oils with huge price tags, any good blended oil (vegetable oil) is great for deep frying. Corn and Canola oil are also excellent and quite inexpensive. It makes a good frying oil if it is neutral (it doesn't have a notable taste) and has a higher smoke point. Vegetable oil has one additional advantage: it can be reused. Make sure you strain the oil and refrigerate it in between uses. You should never use olive oil to deep fry, as it has a lower smoke point and is expensive. Save that olive oil for dressing and quick sautés.

The Chips

For chips, I use Chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's recipe:

I can't see how to improve this recipe in a class by itself. Lopez-Alt starts with inexpensive and widely available russet potatoes.

You peel and slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch x 1/4-inch shoestrings and parboil these fries in water containing vinegar and salt.

After boiling for 10 minutes, the chips are drained and cooled on a towel or paper towel-lined tray.

After cooling, the potatoes are briefly deep-fried and frozen. When ready to serve, the fries are deep-fried from frozen and salted.

Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel-lined tray.

The fries are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. If you have a bag of russet potatoes that you are afraid will spoil before you can use them, you can process them and get them into the freezer in under an hour. The only critical factor is to get the oil hot, which is very hot--400 degrees. In between batches, let the oil come back up to 400 degrees. You will need a thermometer to get this right. Invest in one--it is a game changer. Make sure the oil cools to 325 degrees to fry the fish. You can use the same oil but should not fry the fish and chips together as they need different temperatures for optimal frying.

Classic Fish and Chips- $12.27 for 3-4 servings.

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