Homemade Fish and Chips (and three tips for deep frying success)

There’s a place in South Bend, IN, I love to go for fish and chips. They often have live music, seating is community style, and it feels just like (what I imagine) an Irish pub does. And their fish and chips. Oh, man.

I’m not going to claim I can make fish and chips as good as theirs, but this does make a pretty decent batch! It will make enough for 4 hungry people–and I mean hungry.


I recommend serving with a cold beer (try a stout or a brown) and plenty of tarter sauce for dipping. Happy frying!


Fish and Chips with Tarter Sauce

Recipes based on Alton Brown and Rachael Ray

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup dill pickle relish
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 48 ounces canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 large potatoes
  • Salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 bottle brown beer (cold!)
  • 1 pound white fish–(talapia, haddock, cod, or flouder)
  • Cornstarch


  • 5 quart dutch oven
  • Thermometer
  • Roasting rack

To make your tarter sauce:

1. Mix mayo, relish, and lemon juice. Cover and put in the fridge to chill and let the flavors blend. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To make your batter:

1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. While stirring, add beer.

2. Stir until their are no lumps. Cover and move to the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes, but up to an hour.

To make your fries: 

1. Leave the skin on your potatoes and chop them into fries. Keep them sturdy–skinny fries won’t fry as well.


2. Turn your stove to medium heat and watch it carefully. Heat the oil to 320 degrees (F)-don’t let it get too hot.

3. Once the oil gets to temperature, work in batches (each potato is about a batch), and immerse the fries in the oil for 2-3 minutes. They’ll get pale and float at the top. Remove them from the oil onto a roasting rack to drain.


4. Once all the fries have been in once, increase the oil heat to 375 degrees. In roughly the same batch sizes, re-fry your fries for 2-3 minutes. They’ll be crisp and golden brown.

5. Season them with salt while they’re hot, and keep in a 200 degree oven.

To make your fish:

1. Chop your fish into 1 oz pieces (or so). This isn’t an exact science.

2. Heat oil to 350 degrees.

3. Put corn starch in a bowl for dredging, and get your batter out of the fridge. Dredge each fish piece in corn starch, and then in batter.


4. In batches of 4-5, drop into oil. As soon as the batter sets, flip them. Fry for 2 minutes.


5. Drain on roasting rack, and then move to your oven with the fries to keep warm.

6. Repeat until all your fish is fried!


Helpful tips for frying:

Oil temperature: adding something cold (potatoes or fish) to hot oil can drop the temperature 25-50 degrees (F). This is OK and is factored into the temperatures in the recipe. Just make sure to let your temperature get back to what it needs to be before you add the next batch of potatoes or fish.

Keeping everything warm: try not to stack your fish or fries too much–they’ll get soggy. As much separation as you can get is ideal to keep them crispy.

Utensils: wood or metal, please. No plastic!

To reheat:

We (happily) discovered that we had leftovers! Dare I say they were even better than the day we made them? To reheat fish, bake at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Flip halfway through. When you flip, add the fries to the sheet.


Mardi Gras!

I know that Mardi Gras is still 4 days away. Don’t be hatin’.

First things first, this came in the mail today! Score! We’re jumping out of a plane!


Last night, a couple of friends and I went to our favorite bar to celebrate the occasion that is Friday, and were surprised to find the place packed with people celebrating Mardi Gras. The good news is, we found a table in fairly short order, and there were these cute little guys on the menu:

Be still my soul. L.A. and Amanda experienced crawfish for the first time. Trust me, crawfish are a food that you don’t just merely eat, you experience them.

The carnage!

I drank a hurricane. There was beer consumed. Good friends. Great conversation. A marvelous end to the week. This is happiness.

I’m going to check out a new (to me) car today. Wish me luck!

Beer review: TJ’s Mountain Crest

Is there better way to end a Saturday than an nice, cold beer? I’d like to submit that there’s not. Honestly. It’s perfect. I’ve had these guys hanging out in my house for a month now, and only just got around to popping the top on one:

Normally, I’m fairly prejudiced against beer that comes in cans. I feel like it is inferior to beer that comes in bottles, and by far inferior to draft beer. But, ever a fan of Trader Joe’s, and ever one who likes a good deal ($3 6-pack, anyone?), I decided to give it a go.

First off, I think it’s a good, quality beer. I do. The only problem (and one that I should have seen coming from a mile away) is that it’s a light beer. And I’m not a fan of light beers. I’m just not. Give me a stout. Or an IPA. Or even an auburn. A dark auburn. Past that, I just can’t do it. I just can’t handle light beers.

I need to recognize this about myself, and move on. Right? Acceptance is the first step in healing. Etc. Etc.

I wanna know: Are you a beer drinker? What kinds do you like?