Ah Fish and Chips. The truly British Staple. One of the very few culinary delights this sceptred isle is known for in far flung foreign parts, you know, like France.
Well, I for one love ’em. But they have to be right. There are many and varied ways of serving up a bag of chips. The way I see it, you may not agree, the chips have to be dry, crispy on the outside, fluffy in the middle, and most importantly golden.
This state of loveliness is achieved by three elements – type of potato, type of cooking medium, and time.
Type of potato. You need a dry, fluffy spud. A Maris Piper for instance.
Type of cooking medium. Animal fat such as Lard – as hot as possible.
Time. Let em cook a bit. Get some colour in them.
Cooking a good chip requires lard. Don’t feck about with vegetable oil of any kind.
Cooking a good chip requires heat. Don’t feck about with low temps. Hot only.
Cooking a good chip requires time. A lovely golden hue requires patience.
Never feck about like the cheffy blogs and videos do. There is no need to cook them twice, there is no need to par-boil, there is no need to soak in brine. Peel yer spuds, chip them, let them sit for a bit to dry off, bang em in smoking hot fat and you will attain chip perfection.
Haddock, Cod, Hake, Hoki, Plaice, or posh Sea Bass. Doesn’t matter. As long as it’s fresh as possible. A thicker fillet will take on less grease. A lovely light crispy batter surrounding a well cooked flaky fillet is a ticket to fishy heaven.
The moist element… (thanks Peter Kay)
Peas. Peas or Peas. OK, have your beans or gravy or even curry sauce. I usually reserve those for sausage/fish cake/spam fritter and chips. Fish=Peas in my book.
I have travelled the length and breadth of this fine country of ours. Sampled many a fine chip. There are many memorable chippys including:- The Chippy on Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth; Lees in the Woodshaw Centre, Wootton Bassett; Hasibo Traditional Fish & Chips on the High Street, Penge, to name a few.
Locally there are many, many chippys that fulfill my culinary needs but the cream of the crop has to be Papa’s in Willerby. Closely followed be Seaways in Cleethorpes, and Excel Fisheries in Scunthorpe. You cannot go wrong in any of these with Papa’s taking the crown. It was voted third best in the country. I cannot vouch for that, not having tried the other two but they must be phenomenal to garner more votes than Papa’s.
Some people like wet, floppy, greasy, lukewarm chips. That’s their prerogative. Not for me though. It’s always a lucky dip frequenting a new fish shop. One I’m happy to play. It’s a pleasure when you find a gem.
with lashings of salt and vinegar – obviously