BY Keely Harrison
With Beer Day Britain and Father’s Day all happening the same weekend (June 15 and 16) there is only one dish that will do…. beer-battered fish and chips. David Woods, executive head chef of the Sofitel London Gatwick, shares his top tips for the perfect crispy batter.
“Fish and chips is the ultimate seaside treat and even better if the batter is made with beer. It provides a lighter, crunchier finish full of flavour and goes well with a pint so a perfect treat for dad this Father’s Day. The key is to have the freshest fish – I particularly love hake. It is so underrated as a fish but stays succulent with a creamy texture after cooking.
If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can use a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or wok instead, just don’t leave it unattended. You will need to invest in a cooking thermometer.
My top chef tip is to coat the fish in rice flour before dipping into the batter. It helps the batter stick better. The batter itself takes seconds to prepare and only uses a small amount of beer – so plenty left over for the cook while dinner is getting underway!”
Beer-battered fish and chips
Four 250g thick white fish fillets such as cod, haddock or hake
Rice flour for coating
Sunflower oil for frying
For the batter:
80g plain flour
Pinch of ground white pepper
pinch of sea salt
4 tsp of malt vinegar
140ml freshly opened beer
1tsp of baking powder
Four large potatoes, preferably Maris Piper
· To make the batter, sift the flours and baking powder together. Add the pepper, salt and malt vinegar. Gradually whisk in the beer. Leave to one side.
· Peel and cut the potatoes into thick chips and rinse in cold water. Dry on kitchen paper.
· Half fill the saucepan with oil and heat to 130oC. Use a slotted spoon to lower in the chips. Fry for about 10 minutes until almost cooked but not brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
· Heat the oil to 180oC to fry the fish.
· Coat the fish fillets in rice flour then dip into the beer batter. Lower each fillet into the hot oil with a slotted spoon and fry for about 5 minutes until crispy and golden brown., Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm in a low oven while you fry the rest.
· Once the fish is cooked, finish off the chips. Lower the part-cooked chips into the oil, 180oC, and fry for a few more minutes until golden brown. Serve with the fish and plenty of salt and vinegar.
Chef’s tip: the beer-batter is equally good for making onion rings or crispy courgette chips.
part-cook the chips in oil as suggested. Then while the chips are draining, cook the fish in the same oil as above. Keep the fish warm in a low oven while the chips are fried at 190C for a further 4-5 minutes.