Thanks to our global food community, we have more opportunities than ever to sample cuisines from the farthest corners of the world. Even in America’s smallest towns, food lovers are exploring traditional Indian, Ethiopian, or Spanish tapas restaurants, and we’re constantly on the hunt for our new favorite.
As our palates grow accustomed to savory spices and tongue-numbing chiles, it’s easy to forget the classics of our close friends just across the pond. With their quirky names like Bubble and Squeak, Bangers and Mash, and Toad-in-the-Hole, we love traditional English pub fare for its comfort food appeal.
When we think of classic English food, our minds wander to freshly made sausage, creamy potatoes and rich gravy. But maybe the most iconic dish is the king of street food: fish and chips.
The Culinary Institute of America’s recipe for fish and chips gets right to the point. Flaky, tender cod in a crispy batter, served alongside twice-fried potatoes (fries, not chips, which are crisps. Got it?). For the perfect complement to the richness of the dish, we’ve added an herby dipping sauce that is creamy and tangy, thanks to white wine vinegar and capers.
In the fish and chip world, a common debate lies in the choice between cod and haddock. Both are flaky white fish, with similar flavors and textures. Haddock may be slightly more flavorful, and a bit drier in texture, but both are excellent options.
One consideration to keep in mind is that the Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch (which advises on ocean-friendly choices when purchasing seafood) considers Pacific cod caught in Alaska to be a more sustainable option than haddock in general. Of course, your cod may be coming from another source, so check out seafoodwatch.org or their handy app for more information.
Our all-purpose fish batter is kept crisp and airy with the addition of sparkling water. You’ll love the crunch in contrast to the buttery fish, but it is also perfectly suited as a coating for chicken or vegetables. Try it on sliced sweet potatoes, onions and even Brussels sprouts. To ensure a crispy exterior that isn’t too greasy, keep the batter as cold as possible and whisk it right before use.
If you’re craving something green on your plate, fish and chips are seamlessly paired with sweet green peas (mash them for a classic English touch). For some variety, serve the dish with a sesame-based cabbage slaw and soy dipping sauce, or a tangy jicama salad and mango salsa. But if you’re traditional, a nice cold beer will do the trick.Fish and Chips
2 pounds of skinless and boneless cod or haddock fish
Oil, as needed for frying
Tempura Batter (recipe follows)
Dipping Sauce (recipe follows)
All-purpose flour, as needed
Chips (recipe follows)
Clean the fish and cut it into 3-inch by 1½-inch rectangles.
Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees.
As the oil is heating, prepare tempura batter and dipping sauce.
Place all-purpose flour into a sealable plastic bag.
Place a piece of fish into the bag and shake it until the flour completely coats the fish.
Dip the fish in flour to coat it and shake off excess flour and dip it into the batter. Remove the fish using tongs and briefly let any excess batter drip off. Carefully lower the battered fish into the hot oil. When it starts to bubble, release it.
Cook until golden brown, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Place on a paper towel to soak up excess oil.
Serve hot with chips and dipping sauce.Tempura Batter
Makes four servings
3 eggs, beaten
1 pint sparkling water
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Mix all ingredients in a bowl large enough to dip the pieces of fish. Set aside.Dipping Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped tarragon or chopped thyme
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons finely chopped capers
3 finely chopped white anchovy fillets
Tabasco, to taste
Salt, to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.Chips
6 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 5-inch by ½-inch rectangles
Oil, as needed for frying
Pinch of salt, and as needed for seasoning
Rinse, drain and dry the potatoes thoroughly. (Alternatively, the potatoes may be held in cold water until ready to cook. Dry them thoroughly before cooking, or the oil will splatter when they are added to it.)
Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet or a 14-inch wok, preferably one with a handle, over high heat until it reaches 300 degrees. Add the potatoes and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for approximately 15 minutes, gently jiggling the pan from time to time. Do not stir, to avoid breaking the fries. Remove the fries from the oil.
Increase the heat of the oil to 375 to 400 degrees. Add the fries back into the oil, stirring occasionally, and cook until golden brown, approximately 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly. Season with salt and serve immediately.