Fish and chips hold a very special place in my heart. Many a time, my mum would take me to a local chip shop – I think we’ve all known one of these cafes. The edges of it are lined with whoever has been nominated to go out for the fish supper, with a small queue of people waiting to order thick, hot, crispy fillets of fish with those perfect chip shop chips – crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. It’s been a long time since I had chip shop fish and chips but my usual order has never changed – haddock and chips, mushy peas on the side and absolutely saturated with salt and vinegar in such vast quantities, I can basically only have the dish once every three years for the sake of my blood pressure.
The various elements of this dish are a bit of a departure from your average chippy – a healthier light batter on the fish, mushy broccoli, and moorish spicy potatoes; nonetheless it’s a guaranteed Fish Friday success.
When at home, my mum also used to fry fish although this would be in her trusty heavy bottomed pan and not in a deep fryer (no judgment here, deep fried definitely has a place but it’s probably not in my accident prone kitchen). She would always heavily season her flour before frying in what I believe was a mixture of oil and butter (words cannot even say how delicious this was but oil-and-butter experiments must be left for another time). Mum didn’t tart up the fish either, except to take out the bone of the fish and even that was only in deference to my tiny windpipe. Those fish eyes were staring right back at me through the whole meal. “Fish brains make you clever”.
I think food like this is best shared with friends and family, in front of some well-chosen Friday night TV and with either a light beer, an ice cold white wine or (my favourite) a glass of prosecco with something sweet like sloe gin or elderflower cordial/liquer dropped in, to taste. This is absolutely acceptable because although fish and chips is a perfect Friday night treat, it isn’t even that much of a treat because it features broccoli and eating a portion of that is basically the equivalent of going to the gym for an hour. Fact. Happy Weekend!
Fish and puree recipe adapted from Nigella – potatoes from Nigel Slater
2 haddock fillets, skin off
3 heaped teaspoons of plain flour. Gluten free flour works great here.
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp all-purpose seasoning
2 tbsp groundnut oil
600g baby potatoes, scrubbed and halved/quartered (to even pieces)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp groundnut oil
500g frozen broccoli florets (don’t be tempted to go fresh, the frozen stuff is cheaper anyway)
1 1/2 tbsp Coconut oil
- Boil the cubed potatoes in a deep pot of salted water for 15 minutes until almost tender. Put these in a roasting tray with the spices, seasoning and oil and roast at 200 degrees (180 fan) for 45-60 minutes, until crisp.
- Twenty minutes before the potatoes are finished, boil the frozen broccoli until tender (around 10 mins). Drain and return to the pot. Add the coconut oil and seasoning and go at it with a hand blender until smooth. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Turn the heat off but leave it on a hot plate with a lid on while you do the fish.
- Ten minutes before the potatoes are finished, add the oil to a heavy bottomed pan on a medium-high pan. Mix the flour with the spices. Dredge the fish fillets in the seasoned flour and fry, without disturbing, for 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second.
Serve with a wedge of lemon, just like in the chippy.
Happy Fiesta Friday!