My mom has a “thing” for fish & chips and she passed it on to me. After a conversation about not being able to find Arthur Treacher’s anymore, my boyfriend demanded a fish fry night for dinner.
This isn’t like our fish fries during our annual fishing trip to Canada, with simple breading and fried potatoes. We like a light, crispy batter on our fish to go along with homemade French fries. Of course, if we’re making the fish batter from scratch and cutting the potatoes for the fries, I have to make homemade tartar sauce.
I can’t take credit for the method of cooking the fries. We’ve made homemade French fries many times but we’ve never managed to get them quite crispy enough. We looked to our favorite food-science geek – Alton Brown – for the answer. After rinsing the cut potatoes and draining them well, fry them at 320 degrees just until they get limp. Take the fries out of the oil, drain and let them cool to room temperature. Heat the oil to 375 degrees and fry them a second time until browned and crispy. This is the best method I’ve found to make crispy homemade French fries.
Don’t forget the malt vinegar to serve with your homemade fish & chips.
Creole Tartar Sauce
1 ½ cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely diced drained dill pickles
1 tablespoon capers, drained and minced
1 ½ teaspoons minced shallot
½ teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried chives
1 teaspoon tarragon vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning blend
1 teaspoon Frank’s Red Hot sauce
¼ teaspoon each kosher salt and ground white pepper
At least one hour before serving, mix all of the tartar sauce ingredients together in a small non-metal bowl. Keep covered in the refrigerator until time to serve. The Creole tartar sauce will keep in the refrigerator at least two weeks.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon malt vinegar
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 cup water (approximately)
1 ½ pounds firm fish such as cod, cut into fillets
Up to one hour before frying, mix the flour, baking powder and spices together in a large bowl. Add the vinegars and water, and then whisk well until there are no lumps in the batter. Allow to rest at least 15 minutes before dipping the fish fillets into the batter. Let the excess batter drain back into the bowl.
Fry the battered fish at 350 degrees without overcrowding. Once the batter is set, turn the fish fillets over and continue frying until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes). Repeat with the rest of the fish, draining the fillets well.
If you like the little crispies that come with the fish at the fast food places, drizzle a little of the batter into the oil and fry until golden brown.
More from Debbie Henthorn
Homemade Onion Rings for the Freezer
Cooking with Vinegar: Add Variety to Your Pantry
Cooking with Oil: Add Variety to Your Pantry