The struggle is real. I’ve been living in the USA for just shy of four years now and have yet to find authentic British fish & chips anywhere. I thought I hit the jackpot late last year when Gordon Ramsey opened his latest Las Vegas establishment imaginatively called Gordon Ramsey’s Fish & Chips, but was a touch disappointed.
Firstly, to the uninitiated, proper British fish & chips is nothing particularly special – you don’t need a Michelin Star to do it well – it’s a decent sized battered and fried piece of cod (or haddock if you’re that way inclined) served with large chunks of fried potatoes (or chips if you’re anywhere outside of North America) drenched in salt and vinegar. An accompaniment of mushy peas and/or curry sauce never does any harm either.
Now my experience at Mr. Ramsey’s British fish emporium was not terrible, in fact the fish was delicious and cooked perfectly, but parmesan truffle chips Gordon… really? Chipotle Chorizo chips… No… Just no. And where are the mushy peas? You’ve done your nation a great disservice Sir.
I did have a pretty good Americanized (or is it Americanised?!) version at locals joint Santa Fe Station’s Oyster Bar with Mary’s parents recently, but it’s still not quite right.
Given that apparently now we entitled to call fish & chips whatever we darn well please, I thought I’d do a version of my own. I call it, Fish & Chips, or Whatever…
Mary wrote an excellent piece recently about buying fresh fish, so our protein was fairly easily sourced at our local Asian grocery store.
I chopped up some sweet potatoes (not yams!) and tossed them in some olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika ready for baking. Thicker the better in my opinion, proper chips!
Thankfully the fish was well prepared by the fishmonger at the grocery store, so all that I needed to do was stuff it with fresh lemon slices and garlic.
Giving the scales a good rub with some olive oil is a good idea too – you don’t want the fish sticking the grill and if done right, fried fish skin is delicious.
Never needing an excuse to fire up the BBQ during the freezing desert winter, I gave the fish a decent 5 minutes on each side until nice and crispy.
The result was pretty tasty, though not the greasy variety I so crave. Served with a couple of grilled bread slices, some homemade tomato ketchup and some fresh lemon, it’s certainly something we’ll try to make again.
I’ve heard good things about a food truck in San Francisco called The Codmother, which I hope to visit soon, but failing that I’m going to have to wait until summer before getting my authentic chippy fill. The struggle is most definitely real.