Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Awesomebella Cooks-FISH AND CHIPS!

Last night my favorite chef, Jamie Oliver, and I made some tasty dinner.

Well...no...unfortunately Jamie did not actually HELP me, but I did use his recipe to make this week's awesomemonday meal!

Classic, Brit-Style FISH AND CHIPS!

True story. Why fish and chips, you ask? Though I may be an American girl with mostly Italian and Hungarian heritage, but I am a 100% British Chick at heart.  I love, love, love England (and Ireland...and I haven't been to Scotland or Wales, but I probably like them too...). I've been twice, and a trip to England isn't a trip to England unless Fish and Chips from some tiny little place on the streets of London is involved.

Yesterday I attempted to replicate that pleasant experience at home. I used THIS RECIPE (times like 3 in order to feed my massive amount of family) and it worked out just smashingly. Although it was a tremendous amount of work making enough to feed everyone I think it was worth it. Not sayin' I'll go through the trouble again but I did have fun. I cranked up my ipod, kicked it onto shuffle (funny story, my ipod is really old and sometimes it gets stuck and locks itself onto one song and it did that last night. But guess what song? Replay, by Iyaz. You know, the one that goes"...nanananaeveryday, like my ipod stuck on replay." Super ironic?)  and had a glorious time. And at the end I got to pretend I was in England! Trust me, you can't get much better than that.

Photos of the process:

First thing, LOT OF POTATOES!!!! Here they are all whole, and really, really dirty. They got washed, peeled and cut into "chips" (oh no, not french fries, not long and starchy rectangular shapes, CHIPS!). So, so, so many chips.

The vast amounts of starchy wedges were then blanched (aka fried for just a couple minutes until soft, b ut not golden) and taken out of the fryer. The secret to french fry chips success is the double fry!
Once rid of excess oil and cooled down they went back into the oil (by the way, Jamie said to use vegetable oil, but I chose to use peanut instead.) for around another 5-6 minutes until they were all golden and crispy. Dried. Salted. Devoured. Oh mmmmaaan, they took forever but the end product was so very delectable. So very much so that in my excitement I forgot to take a photo of the finished product. Sorry.But believe you me, they were good!

Now for the fishy part.
Cod. Lots of it. (I used 2 plates full. And I cut the bigger pieces in half.) Jamie says Haddock is also acceptable. Whichever.
*mmmm... sushi... 
*reminder: "Aren't you a vegetarian?" Yes. And no. I eat fish- a "pescetarian" technically. It is complicated. 
*disclaimer: I'm kidding! While I do adore sushi and find raw fishes to be delicious I did not consume any of the raw cod. Salmon is just way better...

Okay, now here is where things get a little crazy. The batter for the fish. 
This batter consisted of 1 beer (Guinness, if you care. Please everyone remain calm. Cooking with alcohol is safe for all ages! Cooks off as soon as it hits the heat.), some whipped egg whites and some flour. Sounds nasty. Obviously looks nasty. But really, you have no idea. This stuff was...wow. You know how when you add flour and water you get paste and you can do fun stuff with paste like...make pinatas? Weeeellll, when you mix beer, eggs and flour you get something sort of like that only weirder. This is apparently a traditional way of battering fish (and it is good!) but I am telling you the stuff was like glue. As I was using it was I coming up with a mental list of other uses for it. Let me share with you
  • Paper Mache. Oh, you could stick just about anything together with this. I think you could probably get some newspaper, paste it all up, form it into a CAR and it would hold.
  • Tiling. You could for sure lay down some tile with this.
  • Spackle. Yup. It has all kinds of household uses, this beerpaste does!
  • Roofing tar. I bet it doesn't heat up and try to melt your skin off like normal roofing tar does, and it is biodegradable...which is probably why people don't actually use it on roofs...
  • Adobe house. Yes, I do believe I could make a whole house with it!
  • Spa-like face mask. But why you would want to spread that grossness on your face is quite beyond me...  just a suggestion.
  • Mud fights. Only...with fish batter and not mud...
Alright, I will stop now. But I am telling you this stuff was just ridiculous. As I dip the fish into the bowl it would try and adhere me to the fillet of fish. I had to wash my hands after each dip otherwise I might have been sucked into the bowl forever. Good times.

Oh, one last note on fish battering. Jamie said to dip it in the batter and then put it in the fryer, but the first time I did this the batter just...exploded...off the fish and then the fish fell apart and it was a big failure. So I instead dipped it in the beer/eggs/flour mixture and then dipped it again into some straight up flour. That seems to help it stay on better? It is also a good idea to make sure your fish is dry before battering it.

Pretty legit, eh? It was majorly delicious, if I do say so myself. Even my fish-disliking father and sister ate it! Success!!!!

One last photo:
Obviously if you are going to do something you have to "do it to the hilt." That is at least how I do things. Fish and chips would be incomplete without Malt Vinegar. Make sure you have some of that to go with the meal! Put it on the chips, put it on the fish, or just drink it out of the bottle (actually no, I'm joshing). Also, feel free to serve your fish and chips all wrapped up in newspaper. That is the traditional method, and the one I had intended to use, but unfortunately my family decide they wanted to recycle all our newspaper the day before. Oh well, it was still delicious! Successful Awesomemonday where I awesomely cooked! Yet another thing to cross off my cooking accomplishments list!

Next week? Stay tuned. So far I've done southern, British and...whatever you would consider shepherd's pie to be? Next week I am thinking about keeping the menu on the East Coast side of things. I plan on cooking up one of my favorite meals from my "homeland" of New England! And it will also be delicious. Obviously. Just wait and see!


Paige said...

It's so true, chips in newspaper from some hole-in-the-wall in London are the best. I have to admit, though I was a little (ok, a lot) weirded out that my fish still had its skin :) But I was sixteen, so maybe I've grown up since then.

beka said...

I love me some Jamie Oliver.
He's great:)
The fish and chips look awesome!

Amie said...

We always have little things in common...

I, too, was a fish-eating-vegetarian for about five years. (I stopped being a vegetarian when I became pregnant and could no longer resist an Arby's melt!)

chelsea rebecca said...

YUM! this looks so great!!
i love jamie! we need to find him and cook with him! haha!

Isabella Kiss said...

Thanks guys!
@paige- yeah, the whole skin on thing is a little sketch, but it is just as good! Luckily the cod I had was already free of its skin!
@beka/chelsea- yup. He is wonderful! And they way he says things is just the best. I smile a lot when he lists off ingredients like aubergines (eggplants) and OR-eg-ON-OH (oregano!
@ Amie- yes, for the most part I enjoy eating fish (as long as it is fresh and delicious!). But there is not much about meat that I am able to enjoy due to my inexplicable "allergy" to it.

Victoria / Justice Pirate said...

Fish and chips are SOOOOOOOOO good. I love them so much!! this looks amazing.

wow a pyramid on you for a directory? that does sound so annoying! poor thing. you have a large family! that's really cool.


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