Fish and Chips
This English favorite is always a hit. There are lots of varieties of fish you can use, as long as you use boneless filets of a mild fairly firm fish. My personal choice are the tilapia filets from CostCo, and the folks around here agree.
If you’re new to cooking, you’ll notice that the photo is of fish and French fries. French fries are called “chips” in England, (nothing against the French, I’m sure). I know you’re going to ask; potato chips are called “crisps” in England.
You’ll find lots of recipes around for this, but for starters I’m going to give you my recipe. Feel free to experiment. You can try beer batters that are puffier and heavier, and you can use bread crumbs that fry up darker in color. But my recipe uses an ingredient that has its own secret recipe, so we don’t know any other way to get the flavor.
What’s the ingredient that has its own secret recipe, you ask? Saltine crackers, that’s what. How about that? For pennies you can have a secret recipe that even you don’t know what’s in it.
You need to grind up the crackers to look like bread crumbs. You can do that by crushing them in your fist, although it turns out to be hard to turn the big crumbs into small ones. And your hands get tired. You can put them in a zip lock bag and roll over them with a rolling pin. Or your car. You can also use a food processor or Magic Bullet. Figure it out; I don’t know what’s in your kitchen.
Do you soak the fish first in brine or milk? Some people do, and you can if you want. If I think if the fish smells a little too much, a milk soak might help. But fish shouldn’t stink. If you buy it from a reputable place, and eat it within a day or so, keeping it refrigerated in the meantime, you should be fine. It’s also OK to take the fish home and freeze it, but I would recommend separating the filets two or three to a zip lock bag so you don’t have to thaw a big chunk of fish.
Prepare to cook:
Rinse and pat dry the fish filets.
On one plate, place a mound of flour.
On another plate, place the ground up Saltine crackers. For five or six filets you will need to use 30-40 crackers.
In a large soup bowl or mixing bowl beat two eggs with a fork and add a little salt and pepper.
In your skillet, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil, such as corn oil.
Heat the oven to 250 degrees to keep them warm if you won’t be eating them right away, or if you need the same skillet to make the fries.
Using a fork to hold the fish, dredge a filet in the flour, then the egg, and then the crumbs. Lay it on a wire rack if you have one, or on a dry clean plate while you do a couple more. You can only fry a few at a time, depending on the size of your skillet and the size of the filets.
Get the oil hot and shimmering, but not smoking. 350-375 degrees F is good if you have a thermometer.
Fry the fish for two or three minutes on each side until the coating is golden and the fish flakes when you poke it with a fork. When they are done, you can keep them warm in the oven for a while before they start to dry out. Like I said, you will have time to fry the fries if you have to use the same skillet. You do it in this order because the fish will keep warm better than the fries, which will get limp in the oven.
Serve with coleslaw and tartar sauce, either home made or bottled.