It's too cold to sit beside the seaside but that's alright, because you can make classic chip-shop chips at home
No need for the seaside – this is how to make classic fish & chips like a pro
Fish ’n’ chips is the takeaway that holds a very special place in our hearts but it seems harder than ever to find a decent chip shop. So there's no better time to try cooking them at home
Classic fish ‘n’ chips with tartare sauce
Serves 4 Prep 25 mins Cook 35 mins £1.85 a portion
1.5 litres of vegetable or sunflower oil, for deep-frying 4 floury potatoes, peeled 200g self-raising flour, plus a little extra for dusting 2 tsp salt 250–300ml lager 4 x 200g pieces of thick cod, haddock or pollock fillet, skinned malt vinegar, to serve
FOR THE TARTARE SAUCE
6 heaped tbsp good-quality mayonnaise juice of 1 lemon 1 large shallot, finely diced 2 tbsp capers, roughly chopped 1 large gherkin, finely chopped 2 tbsp chopped parsley
Heat 20cm of oil in a large, high-sided saucepan or deep fryer to 160C. If you don’t have a thermometer then you can tell when the oil is at 160C by dropping a cube of bread into it; the bread should be golden brown in about 1 min. 2 Slice each potato into chips roughly 2cm thick. Carefully lower the chipped potatoes into the hot oil. Fry for 7 mins at this low temperature before removing with a slotted spoon and tipping on to a tray or plate lined with baking parchment. Leave the chips in a cool place until ready to fry again.
3 Prepare the tartare sauce. Spoon the mayonnaise into a bowl and add the lemon juice, shallot, capers, gherkin and parsley and mix until all the ingredients are well combined. Cover the sauce and place in the fridge until ready to eat.
4 Increase the oil temperature to 170C – your bread should take 40 secs to brown.
5 Tip the flour into a large bowl and add 1 tsp of salt. Pour the lager slowly into the flour whilst whisking. Work the lager into the flour until you reach a batter with the consistency of thick double cream.
6 Preheat your oven to its lowest setting. Line an oven tray with baking parchment. Scatter some of the extra flour on to a plate or tray, and season generously with salt. Take each piece of fish in turn and dust in the seasoned flour. Pat the fish with your hand to remove excess flour – you’re after a thin coating. When your oil has reached the correct temperature, again, working with one piece of fish at a time, dip the floured fillets in the batter, shaking off excess batter, then gently lower into the hot oil. It is probable that you will only be able to cook two pieces at a time. Fry the fish for 9 mins, by which time the batter should have turned crisp and golden. Transfer the fish to the lined tray and place in the warm oven. Repeat the process with the remaining fish.
7 Increase the heat of the oil to 180C – your bread should take about 30 secs to brown at this temperature. Drop your blanched chips into the hot oil. Fry for 2 mins until the chips have turned golden and crisp. Remove the chips with a slotted spoon and season with salt. Serve your fish ’n’ chips with vinegar.