Fish and chips originated in Great Britain and Ireland during the 19th century when trawling for fish and refrigeration became a major source for fresh fish. Shops, sometimes called Chippies, opened up serving “crisps” (the British term for French Fries) with the fried fish and usually with “mushy peas.”
Cod and haddock are firm white fish usually used for the preparation of fried fish but sometimes tilapia or pollock are used. The fish is battered in a variety of different mixtures (some with beer, some with club soda) and then deep-fried. Usually it’s just served with malt vinegar, salt and ketchup.
For this spin on traditional fish and chips I added a bit of cayenne and chipotle to give the fish and chips a layer of sweet heat. The fried fish would also make great fish tacos.
- 1½ pounds firm-fleshed whitefish (tilapia, pollock, hake or cod), cut into two-ounce strips
- For the fries:
- 2 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed
- 2 quarts oil
- Smoked kosher salt
- For the batter:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne
- ½ teaspoon ground chipotle
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle lager beer
- Cornstarch, for dredging
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or deep fryer until the oil reaches 320 degrees F.
- Using a mandolin or V-blade slicer, slice the potatoes with the skin on (if desired you could make gaufrettes). Place the sliced potatoes in a large bowl and cover with cold salted water.
- In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, Old Bay, cayenne and chipotle. Whisk in the beer until the batter is completely smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes thoroughly. Working in small batches, fry the potatoes for two to three minutes. Remove from the oil and drain in a paper towel lined colander. Cool to room temperature.
- Increase the temperature of the oil to 375 degrees F. Cook the fries until crisp and golden brown, about two to three minutes. Remove the potatoes with a spider or slotted spoon and drain on a rack over a roasting pan. Season with smoked kosher salt and a bit of cayenne while hot; hold in the oven.