Fish And Chips

How’s THAT for a snappy title? I know, I know. Some days, the inspirado just rushes through me like a Prius doing 80 with somebody’s Grandmother inside, frantically and fruitlessly stomping on the brake pedal. I’m just happy to share the wealth. It’s been raining for days now, which is a good thing, and all the better for not being snow. We’ve had some serious wind, too, but thus far our power has stayed on. Once this breaks and the sun returns, a whole lot of brown ground is going to turn green in a hurry. The chilly, raw weather has bestirred a hankering for food of a less healthy sort, so I’ve been trying to cater to the urge without indulging too wretchedly in totally abject junk food.

A case in point are these chunky Yukon gold fries which I toss in olive oil, and some version of the spice blend that still needs a catchy name, and then put in the oven, giving them a shake from time to time. Fries they ain’t, but they’re not far off in goodness. I made them for the Devil Burgers™ last week, and made them again with some super-fresh halibut that Gerard brought over. (Though the night he was here, we had mussels, hake in green sauce, and paella-flavored risotto; this was a bonus gift). I cut the fish into chunks, dipped them in beaten egg diluted with water, and then dredged them in fine polenta seasoned with pretty much the same spice blend. After a quick fry and blot, all of the above got together with a homemade tartar sauce of freshly-made mayo flavored with kimchi brine, capers, parsley, mustard, yuzu juice, cider vinegar, and some random so-so relish from the fridge since we were out of cornichons.

There were also steamed collards, which I should have put on the plate for some color. But damn, this fish. Polenta makes for a superbly crunchy crust that contrasts beautifully with the amazing texture of halibut. Much more interesting than flour. And if you don’t make your own mayonnaise, might I humbly suggest that you should, since it’s a completely different food than the dreck one finds in the store. And it’s ridiculously easy, especially in the food processor; I might just write a post describing my idiot-proof technique to get your own culinary Priuses (Prii?) moving. This tartar sauce was ever so luscious.

For dessert, because it was one of those Saturday afternoons, Milo and I made an apple tart, which was much like the one I wrote about last month, but with a different glaze. This glaze was Julia’s apple/plum/star anise jelly, a little apricot juice, and local pear brandy. The butter wasn’t frozen when I made the crust, since I forgot to put it in the freezer beforehand, but it was cold enough to work; because it was less hard, it broke up a bit more than usual, and the result was almost like puff pastry around the edges.

5 comments to Fish And Chips

  • Muskeg Harpy

    Fried halibut bits are nice but my favorite fish/chips fish is Lingcod. It has a similar texture as halibut but the flesh is buttery and clean in a way that halibut sort of misses. I guess ling is a cross between halibut and rock cod–can you get it where you are?

  • Julia

    Ahhh, fish and chips. Sounds great. And that tart is a star. Glad my jelly got to play a supporting role!

  • The Spiteful Chef

    I do not like fish, but I do certainly like chips and tarts, so I guess I'll continue to be jealous.

    P.S. I'm totally buying a Prius in the next month or so. The deals right now are insane.

  • mimicooks

    I own a Prius and I can confirm, plural is definately Prii.

  • peter

    Harpy: I pretty much only buy fish from our local sustainable purveyor, so if he ain't got it, I don't get it.

    Julia: It's good jelly. Next up, I want to use it with foie gras.

    Kristie: You'll be able to get out of every speeding ticket.

    Mimi: Thanks for clearing that up.

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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