How to Make Britain’s Iconic Fish & Chips
When it comes to British food, nothing delivers quite like fish & chips, a heartwarming yet humble dish that combines crispy fish and crunchy French fries and is served with a side of mushy English peas and tartar sauce. In New York City, you can get a taste of this comfort food classic at Bluebird London, part of The Restaurant and Bar Collection at The Shops at Columbus Circle. Here's why this dish is so delicious, as well as some insider tips, in case you want to make it yourself.
The History of Fish & Chips: Some people claim that the first fish & chips shop opened in London in 1860. Winston Churchill called this quintessentially British dish "the good companions," and John Lennon smothered it in ketchup. What makes this dish so appealing is its simplicity: your whole meal on one plate.
It All Begins With the Fish: Purists battle over whether cod or haddock is better (Bluebird London uses cod). Whichever fish you chose, look for shiny eyes, red gills, a firm texture, and a slight scent of the sea. Ask your fishmonger to slice the fish like a steak, not too thick but not too thin. You want a filet that weighs between seven and nine ounces.
Making Magical Chips: The key to perfectly crispy French fries is to cook them three times. Bluebird London uses Yukon potatoes, which they pre-cook by steaming them for eight minutes. After that, they cool them in the freezer for a couple of minutes. Then they pre-fry them. Then they fry them again for a third and final time. The biggest secret: You need to steam and pre-fry the potatoes the day before, then store them in the fridge overnight. The potato needs the time to rest.
The Best Batter: Bluebird London's secret to the best batter? English blonde beer. Combine it with flour and yeast. When you mix everything together, you need to wait 30 minutes before you dredge the fish through it.
English Mushy Peas: In season, you can use fresh peas. When they’re not in season, frozen peas are perfectly fine. Blanche them for 10 seconds in boiling water with a bit of salt. Then put them in ice to conserve the chlorophyll. In a Vitamix, combine the peas with mint and butter for about five to 10 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.
Tasty Tartar Sauce: Top it off with tartar sauce. Bluebird London's tartar sauce is a heavenly blend of mayonnaise, capers, cornichons, sliced onions, white vinegar, lemon juice, and chives. Enjoy!