My name is Phil and I’ve had a problem for about 8 years now (no, it’s not that). It’s that I’m English (no, not that either) and I hate chips.
Actually… that’s not entirely true, I like chips a lot. What I mean is normally, if I’m out in a restaurant I avoid them, mainly because they’re invariably bad, but also because there’s so much more choice now out there in terms sides dishes. I feel like I’m copping-out.
Since Heston Blumenthal made his way onto our screens though, dry-icing cream, morphing meat and triple cooking his chips, I’ve noticed a bit of a renaissance. In fact ‘proper’ or ‘hand-cut’ chips are increasingly being highlighted as selling points on the typical gastro-pub menu. That’s good then I suppose but also, it isn’t, as making chips from scratch is hardly a Michelin starred pursuit in the first place. How low had we gone in culinary terms that we had to, and still do, buy them pre-made and frozen?
Of course I’m not talking about the good old British Fish ‘n’ Chip shop, keep up the good work fellas…
And so, I thought I’d give Heston’s triple cooked chips a go in pursuit of bettering my culinary knowledge. This is a shortened version as to be honest, his recipe calls for a process taking around 3 hours all in all. I don’t like chips that much….
The result was actually very good I’m pleased to say – they had a nice crunch
For this Helen managed to get hold of some freshly caught lemon sole (one of my favourites) and I did very little to this as it doesn’t need it. To counter the oil – a nice bean salad, same as I did for the mackerel. I had a lot left….
- 2 lemon sole fillets
- flour for dusting
- 3 or 4 Maris Piper potatoes.
- Oil – enough for deep frying
- Salt and Pepper
- A side salad of your choice
Start by making the chips. Peel the potatoes and slice into 3/4 inch or 2cm square batons. Try to trim the potatoes into nice square shapes first to keep them all even sized (you can cook the off cuts – I hate waste too!) Rinse very well to remove the excess starch.
Place in a pan of cold water and bring to a boil for about 15 minutes (Heston says 20-30, but I’m not that brave). They should be soft, almost breaking, but keeping their shape.
Drain and leave to cool completely by an open window on a plate in a single layer.
Make up the side salad and pour some flour onto a plate for dusting the fish later – season well.
Heat the oil to 130°C/270°F and add the cold chips. Fry gently for about 5-10 minutes, until just about cooked on the outside. Remove and again, leave to cool by the window, same as before.
Finally heat the oil to 180°C/360°F and finish the chips off until nice and golden.
Just as they go back in, dust the fish in seasoned flour and fry in a little oil, mostly on the skin side, until just done. Take out the pan and keep warm. Serve them all together, with a little extra salt and vinegar. Lovely.