About 6 weeks after the 2020 Confinement started in France, all I could think of after long hard days at work was to go to our local Irish pub and eat a delicious Fish’n’Chips. Obviously, doors were closed, and all I had left for dinner were my fingers and a glassful of bitter tears, regrets and impatience.
While I am a tiny bit exaggerating here, nonetheless I could have gone for a Fish’n’Chips numerous times during the Confinement, as it is to me a delicious comfort food and a tasty fried dish to indulge in. And I am an absolute fan of the tartar sauce that goes with it.
I think the first time I had an actual authentic Fish’n’Chips, I was living in China, and the expat life of my 20s led me and my Cantonese girl friend Gisèle to this pub, the Paddyfield, run in Guangzhou city by two fine Englishmen (and a Chinese partner, according to the local management style). That also is in this very place that I had my first (and best to this day) Guiness Pie – but maybe more on that in another post if someday I ever dare trying to reproduce this pie at home.
Later in my life, in my early 30s, my husband Jerome and I went to spend a fun weekend in London, UK, and it was just impossible for us to go back home without having a local taste of the national Fish’n’Chips.
Since then, in Nice, the Manolan’s Irish Pub is one of the only, if not the only place we go out to when we get Fish’n’Chips cravings. There used to be a restaurant downtown at the bottom of our old residence on Rue Victor Hugo, it was called the Renaissance, where they cooked a wonderful fish’n’chips, but it got shut down when the public tramway works gave a hard time to local recreational and food businesses.
Since I like learning how to do things by myself, especially when all sorts of obstacles get in the way, I got all hands-on into making Fish’n’Chips at home. And here it is!
- Homemade chips (these are not)
- 2 thick white fish fillets, cut in half lengthwise
- Beer batter: 1/2 beer of your choice, all-purpose flour (adjust quantity in order to obtain pancake batter consistency), salt, ground black pepper.
- A quarter of a lemon for a final seasoning touch
- Coat the fish fillets with the beer batter.
- Heat a small oil bath in a cast iron pan with high edges.
- Dip the coated fish into hot oil, then adjust temperature according to what your eyes can see:
- In the end, after 8 to 10 minutes spread over 4 to 5 minutes per side, the fish is ready when its the coating turns golden and the bubbles around it become less.
- Not too high, or the outer coating will be golden before the fish inside is cooked through.
- Not too low, or the coating will absorb all of the oil and make the Fish’n’Chips super oily and soggy.
- When done, shortly reserve the fish on the side in order to absorb the extra oil with a kitchen paper.
- Serve with tartar sauce and a quarter of a lemon to splash. Eat immediately while it’s warm.
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2020 All Rights Reserved.