Fish & chips are one of our favourite summer indulgences, eaten mostly in flip-flops at the beach on the west coast. Last year, having come home from summer vacation and missing it, I made fish & chips for a story in Parents Canada magazine – it was surprisingly simple to make, and utterly delicious. If you’re looking for a little something special to make for dinner one night, or something unique for a party, try crispy homemade fish and chips. For a cocktail party, try cutting fresh fish into small bits for bite-sized fish and chips to dip in tartar sauce.
The secret to the ultra-crispy batter is a combination of baking soda and bubbly beer or soda water, each contributing to its lightness. I use canola, or you could use peanut or another light vegetable oil for frying. To make fries, cut Yukon Gold potatoes into even 1/3″ wide wedges or sticks, toss with oil, spread out in a single layer on a heavy baking sheet and bake at 450F for 20-25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden and crisp.
Crispy Homemade Fish & Chips
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 lb cod, sole or haddock fillets
1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (optional)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup light beer or soda water
canola oil, for cooking
Put 1/4 cup of the flour into a shallow dish. Cut the fish fillets on a slight diagonal into 1-inch wide strips.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup flour, Old Bay Seasoning, baking soda, salt and beer or soda water – the mixture should have the consistency of thin pancake batter.
In a heavy pot, heat about two inches of oil until it’s hot but not smoking. Pat the fish strips dry with paper towel and dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip one or two pieces at a time in the batter to coat well and gently place in the oil. Cook, turning as needed, for 4–5 minutes, until deep golden and cooked through. Transfer to paper towels to drain and cool, then sprinkle with salt.