© David Loftus
fish, chips and mushy peas
Good fish and chips are becoming harder to find these days, but there are still some good boysout there making the real deal. However, if you want to make your own at home, here’s the recipe I use. Unless you’ve got a really big fryer I’d say it’s not really worth trying to make fish and chips at home for more than 4 people – otherwise it becomes a struggle. Other things to have on the table are some crunchy sweet pickled gherkins, some pickled onions (if your other half isn’t around!) – and pickled chillies are good too. Then you want to douse it all with some cheap malt vinegar and nothing other than Heinz tomato ketchup.
To make your mushy peas, put the butter in a pan with the peas and the chopped mint. Put a lid on top and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. You can either mush the peas up in a food processor, or you can mash them by hand until they are thick and perfect for dipping your fish into. Keep them warm while you cook your fish and chips.
Pour the sunflower oil into your deep fat fryer or a large frying pan and heat it to 375ºF. Mix the salt and pepper together and season the fish fillets on both sides. This will help to remove any excess water, making the fish really meaty. Whisk the flour, beer and baking powder together until nice and shiny. The texture should be like semi-whipped heavy cream (i.e. it should stick to whatever
you’re coating). Dust each fish fillet in a little of the extra flour, then dip into the batter and allow any excess to drip off. Holding one end, lower the fish into the oil one by one, carefully so you don’t get splashed – it will depend on the size of your fryer how many fish you can do at once. Cook for 4 minutes or so, until the batter is golden and crisp. Meanwhile, parboil your sliced potatoes in salted boiling water for about 4 or 5 minutes until softened but still retaining their shape, then drain them in a colander and leave to steam completely dry. When all the moisture has disappeared, fry them in the oil that the fish were cooked in at 350ºF until golden and crisp. While the potatoes are frying, you can place the fish on a baking
sheet and put them in the oven for a few minutes at 350ºF to finish cooking. This way they will stay crisp while you finish off the fries. When they are done, drain them on paper towels, season with salt, and serve with the fish and mushy peas.
sunflower oil for deep-frying
• ¹⁄₂ teaspoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 8oz nice white fish fillets, pinboned
• 2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
• 1¹⁄₄ cups good cold beer
• 3 heaping teaspoons baking powder
• 2lb potatoes, peeled and
• sliced into chips (French or home fries)
FOR THE MUSHY PEAS
• a knob of butter
• 4 handfuls of shelled peas
• a small handful of fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
• a squeeze of lemon juice
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper