Most people like fish and chips. Even people who claim not to like fish like fish and chips. Many places in the Salt Lake area have fish and chips on the menu. Favorites include Red Rock Brewery on 200 West between Second and Third South and Market Street Broiler on 1300 East near the University of Utah. My friend Wendy swears by fish and chips at Nordstrom in City Creek Center.
If you want to make fish and chips at home, it can be a little smelly and messy but worth the effort. First, you’ll need fish. Halibut, haddock and cod are excellent choices because they are lightly flavored and hold up to being fried. Fish has to be fresh, and since we are not near an ocean, it’s important to buy it from a reputable dealer. Try Aquarius Fish Company at 314 West Broadway (next to Tony Caputo’s Deli) in downtown Salt Lake City. It is very fresh and handled carefully by helpful people who know what they are doing.
Chips are more than just French fries. To be honest, the only place that ever made them right here in the valley was Piccadilly Fish and Chips back in the 1970’s. Instead of long thin fries, they cut bite size chunks and double fried them. They were crunchy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. It’s easier to cut the chunks than long strips, it’s more authentic (they chunk them in England), and the results are excellent.
You will need a heavy and deep Dutch oven or deep fat fryer, a large slotted spoon or spider, a thermometer made to test the oil’s temperature, a couple of cookie sheets, cooling racks and paper towels. Don’t worry - it’s worth the hassle.
Consider what you want to serve on your fish and chips. Traditionally, the favorite is malt vinegar. While mellower than most vinegars, Americans seem to shy away from the sharpness and opt for tartar sauce. You can buy some glop in a jar or combine ½ cup of good mayonnaise, ¼ cup sour cream, a tablespoon of finely chopped dill pickle, a tablespoon of capers, a tablespoon of the pickle juice or white vinegar, one clove of garlic - crushed, a big pinch of salt and a couple of grinds of fresh black pepper. Make this at least an hour ahead and keep it in the fridge.
Next time, we fry!
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Source: Aquarius Fish Company, Red Rocks Brewery, Nordstrom, Amazon.com, Gastronomy