Today marks the Opening Ceremonies of the XXX Olympiad. London 2012. I always look forward to the Olympics – something about everyone coming together to compete and celebrate. The stories of sportsmanship that arise every year are so moving. I had the opportunity to attend the equestrian events in Atlanta 1996, and it’s something I’ll never forget. My mom and myself went, along with my best friend’s family. The bustling streets filled with people of all different nationalities and cultures; I was only 13 at the time, but I still felt connected to something so much larger than myself. I guess that’s what the Olympic Games are about, really.
And, London. London! What a fabulous city to be hosting. So rich in history and lore, the UK is at the top of my travel bucket list. So, for today’s post I wanted to share something that was a nod to this great city – and fish and chips immediately came to mind. I don’t fry fish often, usually preferring to pan-sear or grill it. But, we like to indulge in a good old-fashioned fish fry once in a while! I chose cod, which is a traditional choice for this dish. But haddock, flounder, or tilapia would be fine too. I recommend using a full-flavored beer in the batter, a hoppy IPA is always my go-to choice for this application.
Good luck to all the competitors these next couple of weeks, and go Team USA! Looking forward to curing up with our family tonight and watching the Parade of Nations and the lighting of the torch. Below you’ll find a picture of myself in Atlanta, circa ’96. Right in the thick of Olympic Village, posting next to a full chrome Chevy pickup. I’m pretty sure I was rocking a hot pink fanny pack as well. I hope everyone has a great weekend!
Fish and Chips
1 lb white, flaky fish (cod, haddock, tilapia)
5 potatoes, washed and scrubbed
1 cup full-flavored beer (such as Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA)
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp + 1 tsp kosher salt
4 cups warm water
Make the soaking mixture for the cut potatoes by combining warm water and 2 tablespoons kosher salt in large bowl. Mix to dissolve salt. Set aside.
To prepare the potatoes, peel the sides of the potato with a vegetable peeler, leaving some skin at the top and bottom. Slice potatoes length-wise, in 1/2″ slices. Then, slice 1/4″ inch strips from those slices. A mandoline or french fry cutter is very handy here! Place cut potatoes in the bowl of salt water and soak for 15 minutes. Remove from water and place the potatoes on a clean kitchen towel to dry for a few minutes. Dry well to avoid splattering when frying.
Fill a dutch oven with vegetable oil, so that oil comes up a little less than halfway up the pot. Place over low heat and heat to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, prepare your beer batter by combining the beer, 1 cup of flour, and a teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Set aside. Place remainder of flour in a resealable bag and set aside with the beer batter.
Once oil is up to temperature, fry the potatoes in batches, taking care not to overcrowd. Fry until edges are starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove to a paper-towel lined cookie sheet. Repeat process with remaining potatoes. Once all potatoes have been fried, bring the oil back up to 375 degrees, and refry them. The “twice-fry” is the key to a crispy french fry. Just another minute or two in the hot oil is all you need. Place them on a cooling rack on a cookie sheet and keep warm in an oven while fish is frying.
To fry the fish, place filets in the bag of flour to lightly coat, then dip into beer batter, and add to the oil. Fry until golden brown, turning fish occasionally, about 6-9 minutes depending on the size of the filets. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel-lined plate for a minute before plating. Serve fried fish over a generous portion of french fries with wedges of lemon for garnish. Tartar sauce and malt vinegar on the side.