Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Irish Fish and Chips


I thought I was on a roll the other day, and I would get all those pictures posted and these recipes out of my head, but that head cold got the best of me. I keep falling asleep on the sofa. The kids are loving it.

Anyway, last Saturday college boy was home for his last night and company had pretty well dispersed (at least I was no longer responsible for feeding them). I had fed 17 people Thanksgiving dinner, and then homemade pizza and salad the following night. I was up for cooking, but something easy. I headed out to the grocery store to see what I could find and I came home with haddock. Sunday night was the feast of St. Andrew the fisherman and I kind of wanted to celebrate, even if it was a day early.

I had this recipe in the back of my mind and was pleased to see that Deborah had used haddock when she made it. Since Saturday was the feast of St. Brendan of Birr, and since he was the abbot of Birr near Offaly (Deborah's home county), I knew it was a good choice.

I went with Deborah's entire menu, too, since I had both bacon and green peas, and potatoes. Admittedly I used a Cincinnati/German beer instead of Irish, but it's all good. The batter was awesome, thick but not doughy. It cooked up to a lovely crispiness, and we ate it with traditional tartar sauce and lemon wedges. I didn't need to keep it hot in the oven because my kids grabbed it off the plate as soon as it was cool enough to eat. Doug and I ate after the kids had their fill.

I used the oven method to cook my fries, but followed Deborah's green peas and bacon recipe almost exactly (I skipped the chicken stock as my peas were a bit wet from being frozen). I never want peas cooked another way -- yum!

I am re-posting Deborah's recipe here for the fish and the peas with U.S. measurements, and my own oven fries recipe. This is not a cheap dish (at least not when you're buying fish in Ohio), but worth the splurge once in a great feast day!

Irish Fish (and chips)

2.5 pounds fish fillets
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
1 T. melted butter
1/2 cup beer
1 t. salt
1 egg white, beaten to stiff peaks

Whisk together flour, whole egg, butter, beer and salt until smooth.
Fold in the egg white and allow to sit for an hour or so.
Heat oven to 300F.
Have tray ready to place fish on while the rest cooks.
Heat oil to 190C / 390F.
Dry each fish fillet with a paper towel.
Dip into batter and swish around until thoroughly coated.
Gently place in the oil and fry until golden brown.
Remove to tray in oven and continue frying until all the fish is done.

Oven Fries (Chips)

6 medium russet potatoes
3-4 T. light olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Scrub potatoes and halve lengthwise.
Cut each half into five or six even slices, lengthwise.
Place in a bowl and toss with olive oil.
Divide between two baking sheets and place in the oven.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until chips flip easily
(if they don't come up with a spatula, don't force it,
just put them back in the oven until they give with no resistance).
After flipping them, alternate shelves and bake for 10 minutes longer.
Remove from oven and salt immediately.


Peas and Bacon

1 T. butter
1/4 pound bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cups frozen peas
splash chicken stock

Heat the butter over a medium heat and add bacon and onions.
Saute until onions are translucent.
Add peas and chicken stock.
Cover and lower heat.
Cook until peas are done.



Anonymous said...

this looks really good. do you have to fry it in a deep fryer or can you fry it in a saute pan, with maybe 1/2 inch of oil in it?
my daughter loves this kind of fish but i don't have a deep fryer so have never tried to make it.

scmom (Barbara) said...

You definitely need more than a 1/2 inch of oil. You have to be able to cook both sides at once, or I fear the batter would get doughy. I did not use a deep fryer, however. I used a whole bottle of canola oil (but most was left afterward -- I just discarded it) in a deep pot on the stove. When the oil was hot enough (test it with a drip of batter) I cooked the fish. I just kept the temp on the stove the same throughout and had no trouble. A cast iron pot works really well for maintaining temperature, but I just used my Calphalon.