Authentic British fish and chips consist of a high-quality flaky white fish deep-fried in a thin, crispy batter served on a bed of large, twice-cooked chips (think fat fries). The key to avoiding an overly greasy product is to use a fry pot large enough that the addition of the fish doesn't reduce the oil temperature too much. Realistically, in a home environment, this will mean cooking each fish individually, but the results will be well worth the staggered serving required. Remember, never leave oil unattended and never fill any cooking vessel more than halfway with oil. Use any oil with a high smoke point and relatively neutral flavor such as canola, vegetable or soybean.
For the twice-cooked chips: Peel the potatoes and cut them into approximately 5/8-inch-thick chips (i.e. 5/8-by-5/8-inch-by-potato length). Store them in water.
Fill a large pot halfway with the oil or fill a deep-fat fryer with oil. Heat to 275 degrees F. Thoroughly drain the chips and add them to the oil, working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Fry the chips until they are soft enough to squeeze but not yet browned, about 10 minutes. Once all the chips have been blanched, spread them on a sheet tray and store them in the fridge overnight.
When ready to serve, heat the oil to 375 degrees F and fry the blanched chips, in batches if necessary, until golden brown and crispy on the outside and still fluffy on the inside, about 5 minutes.
For the seasoned flour: Mix the flour, salt and black pepper in a large bowl and set aside.
For the beer batter: Thoroughly mix the flour, paprika and salt in a large bowl. Whilst constantly whisking, add enough beer to stiffen up the mix. Whilst still continuing to whisk, add cold water until the batter resembles heavy cream consistency and contains no lumps.
For the fish: Fill a large pot halfway with oil or fill a deep-fat fryer with oil. Heat the oil to 375 degrees F. Fillet the fish into six 8-ounce portions, removing any bones, skin or blood lines that are present. Dip the fish into the seasoned flour, tapping off any excess. Dip the fish into the beer batter, briefly allow the batter to drain off, and then gently place the fish into the oil, allowing the fish to float away from you. Cook, in batches if necessary, until golden brown and trying to float, 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove the fish from the oil with a spatula and allow to drain on a cooling rack before serving on a bed of chips with lashings of kosher salt and malt vinegar.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Grant MacNaughton, Mac's Fish and Chip Shop