Fish and Chips might be the world’s most perfect fast food, but lacking a chippie on your street corner, they’re loads of fun to prepare at home. Cod is Britain’s number one preference—followed by haddock—but halibut or even the humble whiting are also delicious.
- 2 large russet potatoes (about 1 pound)
- 1 1/2 pounds white fish fillets (cod, haddock, halibut or whiting), cut crosswise into 2 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup self-rising flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup ice water
- 3 tablespoons beer
- 1 egg yolk
- Peanut or canola oil for deep-frying
- 2 egg whites
- All-purpose flour for dusting the fish
Salt, malt vinegar and/or ketchup, pickled onions and cucumbers, or lemon wedges
1. Slice the potatoes lengthwise into 1/3-inch slices. Stack a few slices together and cut them into 1/3-inch wide strips. Dry the potatoes as thoroughly as you can with paper towels. Rub the fish pieces generously with salt and let stand until ready to fry.
2. Make the batter: In a large bowl toss the flour and salt. Whisk in the water, beer and egg yolk until the batter is completely smooth. Let the batter stand while preparing the potatoes.
3. Line a baking sheet with a double thickness of paper towels and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place all the potatoes in one layer in a deep heavy skillet or wok and cover with cold oil by 1 1/2 inches. Turn the heat on to high and let the oil come to 250 degrees F. on an instant-read thermometer. (Have a screen ready as the oil will splatter.) Continue cooking the potatoes until the oil comes to 350 degrees F. Turn the heat down to very low and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and golden. Turn the heat off under the oil. With a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to drain on paper towels.
4. Whisk the egg whites until very foamy and whisk into the batter. Spread a thin layer of flour on a large plate and dredge the fish lightly with the flour.
5. Reheat the oil over high heat to 360° F. (A pinch of batter dropped into the oil should puff on contact.) Using a fork, dip a piece of fish in batter until well coated, quickly shake off the excess and slide it into the oil. Dip 3 or 4 more pieces of fish into the batter and place in the oil. Fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. With a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to drain on paper towels. Fry the rest of the fish in the same fashion. Serve at once, with the chips and the suggested accompaniments.