Fries are America’s favorite “vegetable.” However, most fish and chips in this country are served with long, skinny, often greasy pieces of potato that bend when folded or are prefabricated and taste like it. Real chips are nothing like fries.
The main ingredient is potatoes. Use any type of potato, but the best result will come from the good old Russet. A baking potato, frying it twice allows the inside to go deliciously fluffy while the outside is crisp. Similarly textured potatoes include Snowden, Burbank, or Desiree. Waxy potatoes won’t give you the same fluffiness.
If you’re wondering why part two is about chips and not fish, when you make fish and chips at home properly, chips are fried twice, and the first fry is the next step.
Peel potatoes and place in a bowl of cold water to avoid discoloration. Make quite a few - at least two medium potatoes per person. Once peeled, cut into chunks. Don’t slice or cut strips - cut chips into large bite-sized pieces. They don’t need to be the same shape but get them close to the same size for even cooking. Put cut pieces in the bowl with whole potatoes until everything is in chunks. Pour off water and replace with fresh, cold water. Put bowl in refrigerator for one hour.
Using a thermometer, heat the oil to 250 degrees. You will need one to two quarts of flavorless vegetable oil (corn, safflower, or canola). How much you need will depend on the size of your pan. Allow room for the oil to bubble up when frying.
The method here is authentic, but you should know Brits often use beef drippings (suet, tallow) to fry chips. Remember how good fast food fries used to taste? They used to use it, too.
Drain and dry potatoes using clean kitchen towels or paper towel and lay them on cooling racks sitting in rimmed cookie sheets.
When the oil is at 250 degrees, carefully add a handful of potatoes. Use your hand, a spider, or other implement - close to the surface to avoid splashing. Adjust heat keeping oil at 250. Cook batches until barely golden and soft - 4-6 minutes. Allow to drain on racks. Do not add salt.
After you cook the fish (part 3), return the chips to hotter oil (365 degrees) until golden brown. Return chips to cooling racks and sprinkle with salt. Serve immediately.
Please take a moment and comment on this article below. Click on subscribe to receive an e-mail when Alison publishes new articles. Alison is also Books Examiner, Community Issues Examiner, Social Issues Examiner, and Salt Lake City Political Buzz Examiner. For a link to all of Alison’s comfort food articles, please click here. Thank you.