Sunday, March 11, 2012

Gluttony, Catholic Style -OR- Fish and Chips of Christ, Fried for You.

Well, fellow food-eaters, I must confess... I was in the mood for some serious gluttony Friday night. Wild fantasies of bacon cheeseburgers and lamb chops danced in my single-track carnivore brain all day, waiting for the climactic pressure-releasing sizzle of meat hitting pan. Then it hit me... It's Friday. It's Lent. Roommate is Catholic. Not gonna happen.

We turned our attention to the other, other white meat: Cod.

Below is one of the easiest, cheapest, deliciousest meals you'll cook from this blog. We did an old fashioned, church-basement fish fry - complete with chips (ooh, Britishy).

There's seriously nothing to it. Here we go:

You will need:
As much Cod as you care to eat. We bought a fairly large filet, about 2lbs. Probably would've fed 3-4.
Some potatoes. We bought a 10lb. bag. Now we eat fries every day. I recommend this option.
Cocktail Sauce (optional)
Malt Vinegar (NOT OPTIONAL)
Sea Salt

Fish Batter:
1 tbsp. malt vinegar
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. milk
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder

Phase one: Prepare ye the way of The Fries
Heat your deep-fryer or pot of oil (which will now just be included in the term deep-fryer) to 320 degrees. Fahrenheit... This is America.
Cut potatoes into french-fry-sized chunks. I have a badass mandoline slicer with a fry-sized cross-blade attachment, because I'm a winner. You can use a knife, but it will take you longer than driving to the store and buying a similar piece of badassery.
Rinse the soon-to-be-fries under cold water in a colander. Slosh them around a bit. The goal here is to rinse away some potato starch. Put them on a paper towel to dry off.

Phase two: I baptize you with oil for deliciousness
The oil should be 320 degrees.
Drop your fries into the oil, and take a moment to think about how much you love potatoes.
Cut fish into uniform slices, as large as you'd want to eat. I like to keep them fairly girthy so they stay fluffy inside while they cook.
Mix all ingredients for Fish Batter in a bowl until smooth. Only takes about a minute with a whisk.
When fries are translucent-looking, pull them out, put on paper towel.
Turn oil temp. up to 375 degrees.

Phase three: Follow me, and I will make you fishers of fish.
While fries rest on paper towel, we fish.
Set your batter bowl next to the fryer.
Dip fish in batter, let drip for a few seconds, drop in hot oil. Repeat as necessary.
You can probably fit a 2-3 pieces of fish at once. Just cycle through until you're done.
*NOTE: I found that if your fryer has a basket, the batter likes to make a terrible mess in it. Remove basket, drop in a couple pieces of fish, and turn/remove with tongs.
As you remove fish, cover with foil to keep warm.

Phase four: Rebirth of the Fries
Once fish is done, let oil reach 375 again, and re-drop fries to flash fry the hell out of them. This is an exercise in eyeballing. Just watch the color, and cook to your preference. The darker, the crispier. At any rate, I recommend taking them out just before the bubbling dies down completely. If you wait until after, moisture has stopped escaping the fries, which means there's no longer anything pushing out against the oil, and you get greasy fries.
After you remove fries, put them in a big bowl and toss with some salt (there are, however, other options... upcoming post regarding fries...) then plate with fish and a big chunk of lemon for juice purposes.

Phase five: Feeding the multitude
Put the plates on table. Make sure there is also malt vinegar, sea salt, cocktail sauce, and some source of lemon juice on the table.
Also put some beers on the table. This is crucial.

And... voila! We've successfully taken the sacrifice out of Lent, and managed to incorporate one of the seven deadly sins, to boot.

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