Fish and Chips.

What can I say about Fried Fish apart that I do love Fish and Chips on a Friday night. It does make a Friday night a proper Friday night. It is as simple as. Fish is a bit of a tradition on a Friday. I am an Atheist but was raised a Christian. Hence it was the custom to abstain from Meat on Friday. Therefore Fish was the answer. It was mainly Fish Fillets pan Fried basted with Butter.

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 Battered Trout Fillet with Baby New Potatoes and Broad Beans. In my home to use a Batter or Breading was almost the only way to make my Tyn/Man eat Fish. He would not touch a Fish which was not Cod either. So I had to convince him to try other Fish in the sea in many ways, shapes or forms to develop his palate. Mind you, it was quite an adventure to do so. It was like elevating a grown Man to not be a 'stuck in a rut' five year old all his life.

Speaking of Children, there was a study done in Paris in nursery schools, back in the mid nineties. The Children were asked to draw a Fish. Most drawings results came back as an orange rectangle on a piece of paper. The experience of Fish those Kids had was mainly through Fish Fingers and that was it. A scheme was then introduced to take the Children of the Capital Paris to Brittany on holiday to experience what real Fish looked like, for them to learn that Fish did have fins, a tail, and eyes but also to taste a variety of them. This story makes me smile and sad all at the same time. Because it is all too often that our first knowledge of Fish is via Fish Fingers. I have no beef with that fact but I also believe that to evolve from everything too processed is best but also that to know the source of produce is essential for our future generations.

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Fish Fingers served with a Bistro Salad and Potato Croquettes. One of my Man fav Dishes concerning Fish. Myself I do find it handy to always have a pack of Fish Fingers in a Freezer. It is for the you never know moments, for exemple when I come back from hospital when I need to eat to take medication, when I have not much strengh to cook for a long while, then Fish Fingers are a good option to do a Bang-Bang job.

Home made breaded fried Fish is not so long to do either. My choice of Breadcrumbs to do the job,  are Breadcrumbs which I do prepare in advance. They are made out of Sourdough Bread, Lemon Zest, Rosemary, cracked Black Peppercorn and Sea Salt. It is a nice mix which does go well with Fish. A deboned Fillet of Fish is preferable but also from a sustainable source.

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Fried breaded Fish Fillets served with fried Potato Wedges and a Julienne of Vegetables (Carrots, Spring Onions, Celery). A simple Dip like a Saucy Sauce is always a bonus to have on the side. A Saucy Sauce is a mix of Ketchup and Mayonnaise. This is a quick Meal to do.

To make Fish Nuggets or Fish Fingers are a good option either breaded or battered. With Fish, I am afraid to confess that I do like to do a Beer Batter. If my Batter is mainly done with Sparkling Water with Veg, it is done with Beer or Cider for Fish. The part of a Fish which is great to do nuggets with, is the tail of a Monkfish. It is meaty or fleshy, hence yummy. But a Fillet is always nice to do Fish Fingers with.

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Home Made Salmon Fish Fingers, fried Chips and Spring Greens. The Man did lift his eyebrows on that one but nonetheless he did finish his plate. The Fish Fingers were Pan Fried. The bread coating did include Sesame Seeds for extra crunch and nutrients.

Somehow I prefer to Pan Fry rather than to Deep Fry. To state the obvious there is less Oil involved or Fat content. But there is also a little less danger associated to it to be mentionned. The temperatures to Fry anything are above 160 degrees Celcius, hence to take good care and to keep attention is important. To do a Beurre Blanc or a Beurre Noisette or to baste a Fish with Butter feels much safer to me. 

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 Cod Goujons with Baby New Potatoes and Peas. A simple deep Fried Fish Dinner. Goujons are similar to Strips in a sense that they are elongated sliver pieces of Fish or Chicken. The name derives from the French Goudgeon/Goujon (Gobio-Gobio) which is a small fresh water Fish. Those little Fish were often used battered to be fried.

In the UK, the little Fish mainly come from the sea. Called Whitebait, there are schools of them, however, they are being plundered. They can be different species of Fish which did not have time to live and grow. They are just named Whitebait. They are commonly used to attract bigger Fish as a bait, or end up being fried. Hence they are being eaten either way. 

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Fried Sprats and Potato Wedges upon a small Bistro Salad. Again it is a simple Dish to put together.

Fish Cakes are another little delight to fry on a Friday night. I am really not fussy about them. I serve them with either Chips, Wedges, Coleslaw, Peas or Sweetcorn. Usually I do them with Cod, Pollock, Haddock or Colley. The Fish Cakes can be fully fishy or 3/4 Fish and 1/4 mashed Potatoes. They may include an Egg as a binding agent or /and a little Milk or Cream. Then the pleasure starts by adapting the basic recipe to your own taste or theme for the Meal.

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Cod and Parsley Fish Cake served with Coleslaw and Sweetcorn. The Tradition is that Fish Cakes were made from leftovers, may it be with any Fish left, boiled Potatoes and even Peas. But I will say this was a genuine way back in the day, which still endure today, to make the best of the rest of good things. You can have a decent Supper with Fish Cakes.

To remain in the realm of Fish Cakes, breaded is better hence you can add more flavours via the Breadcrumbs. Now there is the choice of Fish to be used for the patties. Some says it should be White Fish but I am in a school of thought that Oily Fish can also do a perfect job so can Sea Food like Crab, Crayfish and Lobster.  

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Home Made Trout Fish Cakes with Dill and Spring Onions served with Spring Greens (Sugar Snap Peas, Tenderstem Broccoli and Green Beans). This made a very substantial Meal.

There is a pleasure to create a Fish Cake mixture as much as there is to form and shape the patties to then Fry them in order to give them a golden colour. The creation of them feels like having a ball in your camp. The emphasis here is about the combination of Ingredients. Now you do have your base Main Ingredients to make your Cake (May it be Fish and a Starch source like Potatoes or Rice), then you have the Ingredients to make them sing with flavours. As a rule of thumb, I would advise to not go for more than five to flavour the basic ones.

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Trout Fish Cake mixture.

Let us just say that if I was going for Crab Meat as a main Ingredient to make my Fish Cakes, I could  use glutinous Rice to go with it as a base to form the Patties. When preparing the mixture, if I wanted to give it an Asian vibe to it, I would add some chopped Nori (for saltiness), some Wasabi (for the kick), some chopped Spring Onions and some chopped Coriander. A dash of either Rice Wine, Shaoxing or Mirin would go in as well but in a very little amount. The Crab Cakes would then be coated with Panko crumbs before being fried. To serve the Crab Cakes a Chinese Soy Dipping Sauce sprinkled with Chilli Flakes is very nice. A side could be crispy Seaweed or fried Savoy Cabbage or Chinese Cabbage which can be flavoured with Chinese Five Spice.

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Breaded Rice Crab Cakes with Red Cabbage and Carrot Salad served with Sweet Chilli Sauce and chopped Coriander. 

Frying Fish can be a delicate operation or an easy one. The matter of the matter is to stay behind that Frying Pan or Deep Fryer. It is to keep an eye upon things. Now we could be frying Fritters which are faster to cook but need to be flipped at the right moment therefore they do require attention, even if they are deep fried, we need to call the call when we think they are ready. The temperature of the Oil should be between 160 to 190 degrees Celsius. To do batches help to maintain the temperature and also an even cooking.

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Pan Fried Fish and Corn Fritters with Peas and served with a Marie Rose Sauce. 

Fritters can be formed in little battered balls (especially for deep Frying) or breaded and shaped like a small Pancake to be Pan Fried. Crab and Corn is a popular Fritter so is Lobster or Crayfish and Corn. Shrimps can also be added into the mix. Chopped Coriander could be included but also chopped Chilli for the extra kick. Two important things are to note that Fritters are perfect for leisurely eating but also can be a treat for large outdoors gathering, then that implies that to provide a Sauce with them is a necessity.


 Fried Whitebait served with an Aioli Dip. Whitebait are usually found in estuaries of large river that goes to an ocean or a sea. Aioli is a cold Dip made out of Olive Oil and Garlic. It is popular in the Mediterranean countries but also goes really well with Fish and Veg as well.

Dips and Sauces, when it comes to Fish, are essential really, especially with Fried Fish. I mentioned Aioli, the Marie Rose Sauce, Beurre Blanc and Beurre Noisette but there are plenty more... Tartar Sauce for exemple goes beautifully well with Fish. It is a combination of Mayonnaise, Cornichons, Capers, Lemon Juice, and Herbs: Tarragon, Dill, Parsley, and a touch of White Wine Vinegar. A very popular Sauce is the Lemon Butter Sauce which is like a Beurre Noisette but with Lemon Juice added to it. It could also have the flavours of a crushed Garlic and chopped Parsley as an addition.


Tartar Sauce Dip. It can be spiked with more seasoning like crushed Peppercorns. The Tartar Sauce goes well with Fish as well as Steak. It is an all rounder Sauce. Although believed to be French the Sauce is a version of the Raita. Tartar as a name comes from Tatars, which were Nomadic People who in fact travelled throughout the entire Spice Road and Silk Road From North of Mongolia to Turkey. So we can call them Merchants which mainly talk Turkic. There is a belief that the Tartares were putting Steak underneath their saddles back in the days, hundred of years ago, more than a Millenia. It was a way to mature, keep and tenderise Steak. 

To go back to Frying Fish as I said the smaller the Fish, the better the outcome, otherwise the option is to go for a smaller cut of the Fish. Whitebait, Sprats, Sardines, Mackerel, Snapper, Sea Bass, Sea Bream, Anchovies, Tilapia lend themselves well to fit the required size to be fried whole. To slash the flanks of the Fish helps to Fry it faster and throughout.

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 Whole Fried Sardines served with Wedges Potatoes and a side Salad of Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Red Onions decorated with Curly Parsley and Lemon Slices.

But not everyone does like to see an entire Fish from head to tail. There are different options in terms of Frying or Pan Frying. There we can turn to Battered Fish Nuggets, and Breaded Fish Burgers. I remember my first Filet-O-Fish from McDonald's. It gave a nice other choice on their menu. To do a Fish Burger is not that complicated but my recommendation is to Pan Frying them rather than to Deep Fry them.

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 Cod Fish Burgers served with toasted Brioche Buns, Butterhead Lettuce, Chive and Sour Cream Sauce along with Shoestrings Fries.

In terms of Fry-up Sea Food is a good option to be considered. Even Oysters can be Deep Fried, Lobster Tails, Octopus Tantacules, Calamari, Prawns, Shrimps, Clams all either Battered, Breaded or not. For the delicate Coquille Saint Jacques (Scallops), it is better to Pan Fry them gently in a little Butter. It is very fast to cook Sea Food but it nonetheless gives a very satisfying Snack, Starter or Fish Course.

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Fried Breaded Oysters Supper served with Chips, Parsley, Lemon and a Spicy Tomato Dip. The Breadcrumbs can also be seasonned with some Smoked Paprika or a pinch of Cayenne Pepper do give the Oysters a tiny bit of a kick.

Calamari or Squids Rings are traditional in the UK but are also a Pub favourite. They are more usually breaded rather than battered. The condiments going with them can vary from either Malt Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Tartar Sauce, Ketchup, Tomato Salsa, Sweet Chilli Sauce, Mayonnaise, Marie Rose Sauce to Soy Sauce dip with Spring Onions and Chilli Flakes. Tabasco and Worcester Sauce, Lea Perrins are also often used with Deep Fried Squids Rings.

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Battered Squid Rings with Tartar Sauce, Lettuce and some Flat Leaf Parsley.

Cuisines all around the World do enjoy Sea Food and Fish by frying them. From Italy to China we can find not that much of a difference in Recipes employing Frying methods. One exemple could be the Tempura Prawns. This is one of my favourite Dishes which I can order from my local Chinese Restaurant (Panda Kitchen) as an Appetiser/Starter.

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 Prawns Tempura served with a Chinese and Japanese Veg Tempura. The round ones with holes are slices of Daikon, also called Mooli. We do grow them successfuly over Winter in the Garden.