Fish and chips may seem like a simple dish, but there are worlds of difference between a bad fish supper and a fantastic one.
The most important thing for the success of this dish is the quality of the ingredients. I only use sustainable North Sea haddock, fresh potatoes, clean oil and The Bay’s bespoke Premium Batter Mix (which is available to buy via the website soon or at The Bay itself).
For the perfect fillet of fish I prefer to use medium-sized haddock fillets. For me, they’re the perfect thickness.
My top tip would be to get friendly with a fishmonger, or even better a fisherman, to ensure that you get the freshest of fillets – after all, this is the star of the dish and you should buy it with care.
For the complimentary side to that wonderful fish - the crispy yet fluffy chips - I like to work with floury tatties that have the right balance of natural sugars, which means the chips won't brown too much or too little.
If you don't think that choosing the right tattie makes a difference to your chips, try experimenting with different varieties at home and you'll see a vast difference in the finished product.
With every fish supper, I like to serve it simply with homemade tartare sauce and a slice of fresh lemon.
To start with, I like adding Colman’s mustard to give it a sharp edge. Try using homemade mayonnaise if you can, but if not, make sure you use a good free-range mayonnaise. My final top tip for the perfect tartare sauce would be to use fresh parsley.
Fish and chips may not involve many ingredients but it's very important to have them all prepared and ready to go, because as soon as you start, there's no stopping until it's time to plate up.
Fish and chips can only be served fresh from the fryer - never reheated or kept warm.
Here is my recipe for the ultimate fish and chips. Give it a try and show me your creations on Twitter @thebayfish!
For the Tartare Sauce
• 1 tbsp. mayonnaise
• A pinch of fresh chives
• ½ tsp. gherkins
• ½ tsp. capers
• Dijon mustard
• A pinch of fresh parsley
• 1 spring onion
For the Fish & Chips
• 1 Maris Piper potato
• 1.5 litres groundnut oil or deodorised beef dripping
• 125g plain flour
• A pinch of salt
• 175ml - 200ml of cold pale ale
• 2 tbsp. rice flour
• 170g haddock
• Lemon wedges, to serve
1. For the tartare sauce, finely slice the gherkins, spring onion and capers. Chop the herbs and combine with the mayonnaise and Dijon to taste.
2. For the chips, peel the potato, rinse off the starch and pat dry. Chop into chips.
3. Next, pour 150ml of ale into a bowl, add the plain flour and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Slowly add the remaining ale into the bowl until it’s the consistency of single cream. Dip your finger in and hold it up – you should see your skin through it.
4. Heat a large pan or a large wok with the oil or dripping to 150°C. Blanch the chips for seven to eight minutes or until lightly golden. Remove with a spider spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Crank the heat up until it reaches 180°C, taking great care. For accurate results use a Thermapen.
5. Holding onto the tail of the haddock, dredge the fish in the rice flour and then pop directly into the batter. Remember to let go or you’ll leave finger marks. Pick up by the tail and slowly place into the hot fat away from you. Let the fish cook without poking it! Cook for around seven minutes until crisp and golden, turning carefully a couple of times. Remove and drain on its side.
Check the oil temperature, and when it’s back up to 180°C, return the chips to the pan for 1½-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the chips with a spider spoon to drain.
6. Serve up and enjoy straight away with chunky lemon wedges.