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Homemade Fish and Chips: St. Patrick's Day Delight

By Hank Will, Editor-in-Chief

Tags: cooking, fish, food,

GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.My Partner In Culinary Crime suprised me last night with the most amazing fish and chips for supper -- a real St. Patrick's Day delight. Supper was actually deep fried fish and boiled new potatoes with a delicious tartar sauce she whipped up too. Wow! When I asked her whether she felt like going out for some St. Patrick's Day corned beef and cabbage, she turned and told me this story: "I wanted to make something festive for St. Patty's day without having to run to town for groceries, so I looked around at what we had (that 10 lbs. of cod in the freezer from my recent fish splurge helped), and came up with fish and 'chips' - I substituted boiled new potatoes for fries since we didn't have russets. I was inspired by Budget Cooking For Two, which included a fried fish recipe that came from the Barefoot Contessa." She said that she tweaked the fish recipe a tiny bit — I said: "Wow, is that delicious!"

Homemade Fish and Chips 

It took a little arm twisting to get my PICC to agree to let me post these recipes since she didn't invent everything from scratch, but here you go. And she doesn't know that my not-at-all styled food shot is going in here too -- there will be reprimands, but what can you do with a phone camera, poor light and an aching hunger in your belly? Oh, and in the spirit of using what we had on hand, I rummaged around deep in the fridge and found a can of stout. I poured it into two jars -- one for her and one for me.

Fried Cod 

1 lb cod, fillets or chunks, cut into 3" pieces
1/2 c plus 1 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 T. baking powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 cup water
1 large egg
frying oil

1. Rinse and dry the fish, then sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.  

2. Mix the flour, baking powder, cayenne, salt, pepper, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Whisk in the water, then the egg.  

3. Pour 1/2" of frying oil (I used a combination of safflower and peanut) into a large cast iron pot. Heat the oil to 360 degrees, monitoring with a cooking thermometer. You'll need to keep the stove at medium-high heat to maintain the temperature at 360.  

4. Working in batches, dredge the fish in the batter, then carefully place in hot oil. Cook 3 minutes on each side. Place on a paper-towel-lined plate to cool.


Tartar Sauce 

I didn't have relish or pickles in the fridge, so I just put together some similar ingredients and came up with a nice homemade tartar sauce.

3/4 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise 

2 T. minced onion 

1 T. white wine vinegar 

1/2 tsp. dried dill  

dash of salt and pepper 

Mix all ingredients together. 

Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .