April 15, 2019
Cod is a lean, mild-flavoured whitefish, with dense flesh and not-too-fragile fillets that are easier to handle in a skillet without falling apart. A staple of the Eastern Canadian diet and classic fish & chips fish in the UK, cod is infinitely versatile, perfect for pan-searing, roasting and grilling with a huge variety of ingredients, spices and aromatics. At under an inch thick, fillets cook in ten minutes or less, or can be quickly and gently simmered in stews, soups and chowders, curries or pasta sauces. The fillets are perfectly sized for serving one or two, but it’s equally simple to cook a few at once to feed a larger crowd.
If you’re a fan of fish and chips, it’s worth trying at home with a fresh cod filet—no need for a fancy deep-fryer. Use a wide, sturdy pot and a couple inches of canola oil. All-purpose flour works well as a base for the batter, but locally-made Billingsgate Batter Mix comes pre-seasoned and makes the most fantastic fish and chips—and in fact can be used to batter other things as well, like shrimp or zucchini.
To make your own tartar sauce, spoon about 1/3 cup real mayonnaise into a small bowl and stir in some finely chopped sweet pickles and/or capers, lightly mashed with a fork, with a splash of the brine, a squeeze of lemon and pinch of salt.
Beer Battered Cod & Chips
2 russet potatoes, cut into thin sticks or wedges
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour or Billingsgate Batter Mix, divided
1-1 1/2 lb cod fillets
1 - 12 oz bottle cold beer, or 1 1/2 cups club soda
canola oil, for cooking
Put the potato wedges into a medium bowl and cover with cool water. Put 1/4 cup of the flour into a shallow dish, and cut the fish fillets diagonally into 1-inch wide strips. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, a pinch of salt and the beer—it should have the consistency of pancake batter.
In a shallow, heavy pot, heat a couple inches of oil until it’s hot but not smoking (or registers about 350°F). Pat fish dry with paper towels and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. Coat a few pieces at a time in the batter and then slide into the oil. Cook, turning as needed, for 4-5 minutes, until deep golden and cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt. When the fish is cooked, drain and pat the potato sticks or wedges dry and fry them in the oil until deep golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
- Julie Van Rosendaal
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