Saturday, 15 October 2011

Homemade Fish 'n' Chips - Pouting in dill and cayenne beer batter, Oven roasted chunky chips, Mint and chillies pea puree and spicy tomato sauce

Homemade Fish 'n' Chips

I am a big fan of British food. What can be more British than fish 'n' chips? That lovely piece of fish steamed in a thin layer of beer batter as it is 'dancing' in hot oil. All the trimmings that go with it such as chips, mushy peas and of course the sound of the sea waves, as this is a dish best eaten by the English sea coast.
It's the thought of this that inspires me to make a 'posh' version of this national dish of Britain. I started out by trying to see what alternatives to the often over fished Cod or Haddock. Then I came across Pouting, which is from the same family as Cod and way much cheaper and just as delicious as its distant cousin.
After boning and filleting the fish, I coat it in a batter consisting of chopped fresh dill , cayenne pepper, cornflour, plain flour and ice cold beer. This produced an amazingly crunchy and crispy coating. To go with this, I've made an updated mushy peas by boiling some peas and then whizz it up in a food processor, together with a handful of fresh mint and a fresh red chilli for that little bit of kick.
As for the chips, I've cut the potatoes into 1/2 in thickness and then parboil them, before adding them to a roasting tin with a mixture of duck fat, olive oil and sunflower oil which have been heated up nicely in the oven. This may seems excessive, which it is, but this produces the most flavoursome and crispy roast potatoes that I've ever known. I then pop the tin back into the oven for about 45 minutes.
The tomato ketchup, well, this is more of a necessity than a choice as I am a great hater of any commercial ketchup, especially a certain well known brand whose name I dare not mention, not sure if they can sue me for it but I hate their baked beans just as much. I prefer Branston Baked Beans...oops...where's the delete button?
Anyhow, to make the tomato ketchup, I've finely diced a large onion, a stalk of celery, a clove of garlic and an inch size of galangal/ginger and sauté them in a pan with some olive oil. To this, I then add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tbsp of tomato puree, bay leaf, pinch of ground cinnamon, ground cloves and allspice, a couple tbsp of dark brown sugar, a dash of Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Season with some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and this is left to simmer for a good hour until it gets to a sticky and thick consistency. This is then left to cool and there you have before you a delicious and spicy tomato ketchup, way better than those bottled stuff I think.
And the end product of all this hard work is what you see in the picture, a delicious homemade fish 'n' chips.

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