Classic British Fish and Chips

Frequently asked questions
What are the components of fish and chips?
It’s more than just fish! This recipe also includes instructions on how to make Triple-Cooked Chips. Tartare Sauce is essential for dipping, and then all you need are mushy green peas to round out the plate. 

What are triple-cooked chips?
Triple-Cooked Chips are french fries made with potatoes that are boiled and then fried twice, so they are fluffy and tender inside and extra crispy on the outside.

Notes from the Food & Wine Test Kitchen
Brining the fish in salted water ensures it is flavorful and moist throughout. While the fish soaks, prepare the Tartare Sauce, the Triple-Cooked Chips, and the Mushy Peas, so you are ready to eat once you fry the fish. You can keep the fries and fish warm on a wire rack on a baking sheet in a low oven (about 200°F) up to an hour before serving.

If you need to substitute ingredients, you can use haddock or pollock instead of cod. And you can use any light lager, pale ale, or brown ale for the batter. Try to avoid using anything too heavy or bitter, like an IPA.

Make ahead
You can make the Tartare Sauce up to five days in advance and keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

1 quart cold tap water

2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

4 (5 1/2-ounce) skinless cod fillets

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 1/4 cups (about 5 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour, divided

2/3 cup sparkling water

1/2 cup brown ale (such as Newcastle Brown Ale)

Maldon sea salt, to taste

2 medium lemons, cut into wedges

Tartare Sauce

2 large pasteurized egg yolks

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

2 cups vegetable oil

Tap water, as needed

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon chopped gherkins (from 3 small gherkins)

1 tablespoon finely chopped capers

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot (from 1 small shallot)

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chervil

Triple-Cooked Chips

4 large (14-ounce) russet potatoes

1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more to taste

Canola oil

Additional ingredient

Mushy peas

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Prepare the fish
Stir together water and 2 tablespoons of the kosher salt in a large bowl until salt is dissolved. Add fish; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Make the tartare sauce
Whisk together egg yolks and mustard in a large bowl. Whisk in white wine vinegar.
Slowly drizzle oil, a few drops at a time, into egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly, until all oil is used. If mixture becomes too thick, add a splash of water to thin out. Whisk in lemon juice, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper.
Transfer 1 cup (about half) egg yolk mixture to a medium bowl; reserve remaining mixture for another use. Add gherkins, capers, shallot, tarragon, parsley, and chervil to bowl with egg yolk mixture; stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Prepare the Triple-Cooked Chips
Bring water to a boil in a large pot over high. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer over medium-low. Place a wire rack in a baking sheet, and set aside.

While water comes to a boil, trim and square off ends and sides of potatoes to create 4 (4- x 1 1/2-inch) rectangles. Cut each rectangle into 3 (4- x 1/2-inch) planks; stack and cut into 9 (4- x 1/2-inch) logs.
Add salt to simmering water in pot; add potatoes, and cook until tender but holding their shape, about 9 minutes. Remove potatoes from water using a slotted spoon or spider; place on prepared rack-lined baking sheet, and let stand until cooled and dried, about 15 minutes.

While potatoes dry, pour oil into a heavy saucepan, Dutch oven, or deep-fat fryer to a depth of 2 to 3 inches; heat over medium to 275°F. Gently lower potatoes into pan, and cook until potatoes have a light skin on the outside and are soft when pierced using a fork, about 12 minutes. Remove potatoes from oil, and place on prepared rack-lined baking sheet.

Increase heat in saucepan to medium-high, and bring oil to 350°F. Gently lower potatoes back into hot oil, and fry until golden brown and completely crisp on the outside, about 6 minutes. Remove potatoes using spider to a paper towel-lined baking sheet, and let drain. Season immediately with additional salt to taste. Leave oil at 350°F.

Fry the fish
Whisk together white pepper, 3/4 cup of the flour, and remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl. Whisk in sparkling water and brown ale, forming a light batter. Place remaining 1/2 cup flour in a shallow dish.

Remove fish from brine, and pat dry. Dredge fish lightly in flour; tap off excess flour. Place 1 fish fillet in batter, and submerge completely to coat; lift fish with 1 end, and let excess batter drip back into bowl. Gently lower fish into hot oil, releasing fish when portion of fish in oil starts to float, about 15 seconds. Repeat process with second fish fillet.
Fry fish, 2 at a time, until golden brown and crispy, about 6 minutes, turning fish to cook evenly on each side. Once fish are cooked, remove from oil, and place on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet. Season with Maldon sea salt to taste. Repeat process with remaining fish. Serve fish with lemon wedges, tartare sauce, Triple-Cooked Chips, and Modern Mushy Peas.

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