The great thing about the island of Ireland is that you're never any more than an hour or two away from the sea, and in fact, the vast majority of Irish people live right on the coast as all of our cities are harbour towns. Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Derry, Waterford, etc. So, you would guess that we as a nation enjoy our seafood, right? Well...that is kind of true, but it's only in the last few decades that Irish cuisine has fully embraced the wonderful treasure trove of marine delicacies that we have right on our doorstep. For generations, most of our seafood was exported to other parts of Europe where exotic dishes were created in fine restaurants whilst the Irish made do with the most basic dish that is now very familiar in every pub in the land....and what is it?
Yes, it's the humble 'Fish & chips'.
There's just something comforting about this dish that suited the Irish climate. The picture above is from a wonderful pub called 'The Percy French' in a seaside town we love called 'Newcastle'. We always went there as children and enjoyed the beach, the sea air, the wonderful views of the mountains...and the fish & chips. The fish was always fresh, came from a neighboring fishing village called 'Kilkeel', pictured here, and when paired with the right side dishes is a classic.
In the picture above the dish came with thick cut chips in a pale along with freshly made tarter sauce and some super duper mushy peas! Oh yes.
So, as a special treat, Im posting my very special battered fish & chips recipe. Nothing more Irish, or tasty. Enjoy!
Battered fish and chips with malt vinegar and Tarter Sauce
• Vegetable oil for deep fat frying
• 3 large russet potatoes
• 1 ½ Lbs of flaky white fish such as cod or haddock
• malt vinegar and salt (to serve)
• (Irish spring water batter)
• 1 egg yolk
• ½ cup cornstarch
• ½ cup plain flour
• 1 cup very cold Sparkling spring water (Preferably Irish)
• 1 tsp salt
• ¼ tsp white pepper
• (tartar sauce)
• 1 cup mayo
• 1 tsp yellow mustard
• 1 Tbsp capers (chopped)
• 1 Tbsp lemon juice
• 1 Tbsp tarragon (chopped)
• pinch salt and pepper
1.Prepare tartar sauce by mixing together and refrigerate until ready to serve.
2.Heat 2-3” of oil in heavy saucepan or use a deep fat fryer to 325 degrees.
3.Peel the potatoes and slice lengthwise and slice in to large chips. Fry the potatoes for about 3 minutes in the oil until they are soft but not brown. Drain over paper towels.
4.In a small bowl mix together the egg yolk and very cold sparkling water using a whisk. Measure flour, corn flour, salt and pepper and add a little at a time to water and egg mixture being careful not to over mix. Dip fish in to the batter.
5.Switch temperature up to 350 degrees to medium high. Fry the fish for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. Remove and drain over paper towels.
6.Place chips back in the deep fat fryer or heavy saucepan. Fry the chips for 4-5 minutes until golden brown.
7.Serve straight away sprinkled with malt vinegar and plenty of salt.
Enjoy!..and watch out for another Irish trip treat next time!
Judith, the Irish Foodie x