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Fish and Chips

For perfectly crisp and golden deep-fried food, it is essential to maintain the oil at the correct temperature. Use a deep-frying thermometer and adjust the heat to make sure that the temperature does not dip below 350°F, which would cause the food to absorb oil and become greasy, or rise above 375°F, which would overcook the food on the outside without fully cooking the inside. Caution: Do not let the oil reach 400°F or above, or it may burst into flames. To lower food into hot oil without spattering, use a skimmer or tongs.

Ingredients:

For the batter:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 egg, separated

For the chips:

  • 4 large russet potatoes, each about 1⁄2 lb.
  • Canola or corn oil for deep-frying

  • 4 pieces cod or tilapia fillet, each 3⁄4 inch thick,
     about 1 1/2 lb. total, pin bones removed
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic or snipped fresh chives
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • Ketchup for serving (optional)
  • Malt vinegar for serving (optional)

Directions:

To start the batter, in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Pour the beer into another bowl and whisk in the egg yolk. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Gradually whisk the beer mixture into the flour mixture until a smooth batter forms. Set aside.

To make the chips, peel and cut the potatoes into slices 1/3 inch thick and then into sticks 1/3 inch wide. Spread on paper towels. Do not rinse.

Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat to 450°F.

In a Dutch oven or deep fryer over high heat, pour in oil to a depth of 3 inches and heat to 365°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Add the potatoes in batches and fry until they begin to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Turn off the heat under the oil. In a baking pan, spread the potatoes in a single layer. Bake on the top rack of the oven until crisp, about 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 200°F.

Meanwhile, pat the fish fillets dry and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until soft peaks form and fold into the batter. Over high heat, return the oil to 365°F. Dip 2 fillets into the batter, allowing the excess to drip off. Lower them into the oil. Fry, turning occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the fish to an ovenproof platter and place on the lower oven rack. Repeat with the remaining fish.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, garlic and mustard. Remove the potatoes and fish from the oven. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pile them on the platter with the fish. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs. Serve with the flavored mayonnaise and ketchup and/or malt vinegar.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Fish, by Shirley King (Simon & Schuster, 2002).