“Best-ever” is a slightly overused term these days and not one we use lightly. BUT, this recipe certainly deserves that claim to fame. The secret is to have really cold flour and beer. I keep the flour in the freezer, weighed up in small bags, ready to be whipped out to make the perfect, crunchy and totally delicious battered fish.
1 litre neutral oil for frying
1¼ cups plain flour, well chilled
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
250ml very cold lager
600 grams firm white fish, cut into serving portions
Chips (see recipe below)
Tartare Sauce (see recipe below)
Heat the oil in a deep saucepan to 180°C, or until a piece of bread dropped in turns golden in 30 seconds.
Whisk the baking powder and salt into the chilled flour. Quickly whisk in the cold beer until you have a thick batter. Do all of this just before you cook the fish.
Dip your fish into the batter, then, holding it on the slimmer end, very slowly lower it into the oil so the batter starts to instantly puff up, before lowering it fully into the pan. If you let go straight away it will sink to the bottom and stick on the base of the pan.
The fish will take about 2 minutes each side to cook, but this will depend on the thickness of the fillets. Remove and drain on kitchen towels. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and keep warm on a cooling rack set over a baking tray in a low oven while you cook the remaining fish.
TO SERVE: Serve the fish with Chips, lemon wedges for squeezing over and Tartare Sauce.
6 large Agria potatoes
neutral oil for cooking
Peel and cut the potatoes into chips, then place in a large saucepan of salted water. Bring to the boil, then cook until the chips have started to soften. Carefully drain and set aside to cool. This can be done well ahead of time. Heat 1cm of oil in a large frying pan and cook the chips until golden, tender on the inside and crisp on the outside. Drain on kitchen towels and sprinkle with sea salt.
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped gherkins
1 tablespoon grain mustard
1 tablespoon chopped capers
finely grated zest 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon sea salt
Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl.