One of Hubby’s all-time favorites has got to be Pub Style Fish and Chips. I’m not sure if it’s the idea of fried fish, the batter, the tarter sauce or the perfect marriage of all these ingredients coming together. Kiddo and I are the Malt Vinegar type when it comes to Fish and Chips. Kiddo likes Malt Vinegar so much, he even puts it on his fries. While I’m a fan of malt vinegar, I work hard to make sure it NEVER comes in contact with my chips aka fried potatoes.
This brings me to the burning questions – are chips and French Fries different names for the same thing, depending upon which side of the pond you hail from? The simple answer is yes and no. The most popular casual side dish in both the U.K. and the U.S. is the humble fried potato sticks or as the British call them, Frite. Besides the spelling, just what is the difference between American French Fries and British Chips? At its basic concept, there is no difference at all. Peel a potato, cut it into slices, cut those slices into slivers, and then deep fry them. Be it shoe string or waffle cut, in American any potato that is fried is a Fry. While there has been some discussion as to how many times a Fry should be fried for best results, a pile of golden hot potato fingers that have been fried are the same, whatever you might choose to call them.
While all Frites are in fact French Fries, not all French Fries are Chips from a British perspective. For one thing, Chips are served along side battered fillet of fish – hence Fish and Chips. Simply served with fish isn’t the only difference. Chips are thick, more closely resembling the potato from which they came. What we in America call a Steak Fry is what the Brits like to have with their deep fried fish. So when making your Fish and Chips, keep the size of the fried potatoes in mind if you want to serve up something more traditional.
Classic Fish and Chips
Ingredients – Fish and Chips
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks
1 1/2 pounds cod fillets
1 quart peanut or vegetable oil for frying
Ingredients – Fish Batter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup milk
Ingredients – Condiments
Peel and slice potatoes. Place potatoes in a medium-size bowl of cold water.
In a separate medium-size mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Stir in the milk and egg; stir until the mixture is smooth. Let mixture stand for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oil in a large pot or electric skillet to 350 degrees.
Fry the potatoes in the hot oil until they are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain them on paper towels.
Dredge the fish in the batter, one piece at a time, and place them in the hot oil. Fry until the fish is golden brown, about 5 minutes. If necessary, increase the heat to maintain the 350 degrees temperature. Carefully turn fish, fry an additional 2-3 minutes. Drain well on paper towels.
Fry the potatoes again for 1 to 2 minutes for added crispness.
Serve with Malted Vinegar & Tarter Sauce.