Whether they are homemade, bought in a fancy restaurant, or eaten out of yesterday’s newspaper from a takeaway shop, Fish and Chips are the quintessential British dish, and Friday 1st June is their National Day. So, to celebrate we bring you a posh nosh recipe for them.
So how, when, and where did this quintessentially British dish come about?
The potato is thought to have been brought to England from the New World in the 17th century by Sir Walter Raleigh although it is believed that the French invented the fried potato chip.
Both Lancashire and London stake a claim to be the first to invent this famous meal - chips were a cheap, staple food of the industrial north, whilst fried fish was introduced in London’s East End. In 1839 Charles Dickens referred to a “fried fish warehouse" in his novel, 'Oliver Twist'.
The populace soon decided that putting fried fish and chips together was a very tasty combination and so was born our national dish of fish and chips!
The first fish and chip shop in the North of England is thought to have opened in Mossely, near Oldham, Lancashire, around 1863. Mr Lees sold fish and chips from a wooden hut in the market and later he transferred the business to a permanent shop across the road which had the following inscription in the window, “This is the first fish and chip shop in the world".
However, in London, it is said that Joseph Malin opened a fish and chip shop in Cleveland Street within the sound of Bow Bells in 1860.
In 1999, the British consumed nearly 300 million servings of fish and chips - that equates to six servings for every man, woman and child in the country. There are now around 8,500 fish and chip shops across the UK - that’s eight for every one McDonald’s outlet, truly making British Fish and Chips the nation's favourite take-away.
And so to celebrate here is a recipe for fish & chips. Posh Fish & Chips no less. Don’t worry though it is an easy fuss free recipe, and if salmon isn’t your thing then it can easily be substituted.
Posh Fish & Chips Recipe
For the wedges:
- 8 medium floury potatoes
- ½ cup flour
- 1 dry chicken stock cube
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon hot curry powder
- pinch cayenne pepper – more if you want it hot
- ¼ cup olive oil
Preserved lemon dressing:
- ½ cup yoghurt
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons gherkin juice or vinager
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped
- ½ preserved lemon, yellow rind only, finely chopped
- Small bunch parsley, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon castor sugar
- Olive oil to serve
For the salmon:
- 400g (14oz) fillet Regal natural wood smoked salmon
- 125g (4.7oz) bag watercress
- Lemon wedges
For the wedges:
- Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F) on fan bake. Line a large tray with baking paper and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and season with salt once boiling. Meanwhile, scrub the potatoes well, I use a wire brush, leaving the skins on. Cut into quarters and each quarter into half again to make wedge shapes. Once the water is boiling, put the wedges into the water, cover with a lid and boil for for 5 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, in a large bowl combine the flour, crumble over the chicken stock cube, the garlic powder, ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper and mix well. After 5 minutes, drain the potatoes and then shake gently to fluff the potatoes up. By fluffing them you will rough up the edges and get nice crispy bits. Add to the mixing bowl with flour and spices and toss well to combine. Put the wedges on the prepared tray, discarding any leftover flour. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and crunchy.
For the dressing:
- Shake the yoghurt, mayonnaise, gherkin juice, mustard, capers, preserved lemon, parsley and castor sugar in a jar. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Pour into a jug or mug to serve in. Drizzle over a little olive oil and season with a little extra pepper.
- Watercress wilts really quickly, within minutes, so plate up just before serving. Arrange the watercress on a platter and flake the salmon over top in big-ish chunks. Serve the preserved lemon dressing in a mug on the side. Serve with the spiced wedges and let everyone help themselves.
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