FISH AND CHIPS
2½ pounds potatoes (King Edward or Maris if you can get them.)
1⅓ cups flour (3 additional tablespoons later)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt or salt
1¼ cups (10 ounces) beer
2 cups peanut oil
5 cups (or enough to cover fish) vegetable oil
4 7-ounce cod, pollock, or haddock fillets
3 tablespoons flour
malt vinegar (to be added by guest)
Makes 4 servings. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes
Note:: Cooking times vary a lot between fryers or with the amount of food you put in them, so you’ll need to check the fryer periodically.
Peel potatoes. Slice potatoes along their lengths into ½” by ½” strips. Add potato strips to first bowl filled with cold water. Let soak for 1 hour to remove starch. Pat the potato strips with paper towels until the strips are completely dry.
This is important. If you leave moisture on your potato strips, then your chips, if you are British, or your French fries, if you’re American, will not turn out well and the Earth will leave its orbit and spiral into the Sun. Enough said.
While potato strips are soaking, add 1⅓ cups flour, pepper, and salt to large, second mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly with whisk. Add beer. Stir with whisk until there are no lumps and mixture has the consistency of whipping cream.
When the potato strips have only 15 minutes left to soak, pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. (You will be making this entree in batches. Put fried fish and completely done fries warm in oven until everything is ready.) Add peanut oil and vegetable oil to deep fryer. Heat oil to 275 degrees. Carefully add ¼ of potato strips to deep fryer. Fry potato strips for 5 minutes or until any of them start to brown. There are now officially French fries or chips. (Pauses for ceremony.) Remove chips from fryer, drain, and set aside. Repeat for each batch of potato strips.
Add 3 tablespoons flour to third bowl. Add fish fillets, one at a time to bowl. Turn fish fillets around until they are coated with flour. This flour keeps the batter from slipping off later. Add flour-covered fish fillets to mixing bowl with batter. Slowly turn fish fillets until they are thoroughly covered with batter.
Increase heat on deep fryer to 375 degrees. Carefully add fish fillets to deep fryer. Fry for 6-to-10 minutes or until batter is crisp and golden brown. Turn fillets two or three times with wooden spoon to ensure even frying. Remove fish fillets with slotted spoon and place on wire rack above plate and let drain.
Add partially cooked French fries to deep fryer for second time. Keep heat at 375 degrees. Fry French fries for 10-to-20 minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy. Remove French fries with slotted spoon and dry with paper towels.
Serve fish and chips and malt vinegar to adoring, appreciative guests. Dredge unappreciative guests through any remaining batter. You were cooking with hot oil, for goodness sake.
1) Gratuitous Capitalizing of Words has not been allowed in English speaking countries since 1945. Indeed, World War II was fought to preserve our minimalist capitalization approach.
2) You see, Germany capitalizes all nouns. Germany wants the whole world to capitalize nouns. Why does Germany want all this capitalization? Who would benefit from this?
3) The German ink makers. Capitalized letters take more ink than small letters. More capitalized letters means more ink. More ink means more income for the ink makers. No German government from 1814 to 1945 was strong enough to resist the dictates of the German Ink Makers’ League, GIML. So, when GIML told their leaders to invade one country after another to open up new market for ink, their governments obliged.
4) Things looked bad for the minimal-capitalizing countries in mid1940. The British Expeditionary Force was trapped against the beaches of Dunkirk. If this force had surrendered, Britain, the last hold out against German Capitalizing aggression, would have had to give up all resistance.
5) Fortunately in 1940, a young physicist named Peter Sakes, was in a London pub waiting for his fish and chips. Boom! A gigantic explosion blew apart the kitchen walls. Hot cod and hot potato strips flew into the eating and drinking areas. Patrons ran screaming from the establishment. A light clicked in Sakes’ head. Perhaps the same process used to explode fish and chips could be employed to make nuclear fission. A nuclear bomb would surely stop the invincible German armies.
7) Prime Minister Churchill agreed and gathered all British scientists to develop the atomic bomb. Well, the whole thing took longer than expected; the heat from cooking oil proved insufficient to trigger a nuclear chain reaction. So the Americans came on board with their Manhattan Project and by August, 1945, had an atomic bomb to use on Japan.
8) The atomic bomb came too late to use on Germany which had already surrendered. However, the mere hope the bomb had brought to Churchill had given him to will to resist. We owe our freedom and our small-lettered nouns to Mr. Sakes and his idea. Here’s to him and fish and chips!
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.