In 1860, Joseph Malin, a Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe, opened the first fish-and-chips shop in London’s East End. There are now well over 8,000 such shops in Britain. Some of my happiest memories are of afternoons I’ve spent with friends, eating fish and chips in a British pub and watching soccer. At home, I fry my fish in a beer batter seasoned with Old Bay. And instead of just passing a bottle of malt vinegar, I serve a tarragon–malt vinegar mayonnaise and fried pickles. If you can’t find halibut when you’re shopping, you can substitute cod, haddock, or whiting and get equally delicious results.
Excerpted from MARCUS OFF DUTY: THE RECIPES I COOK AT HOME © 2014 by Marcus Samuelsson. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
- ¾ Cup mayonnaise
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 Tablespoon malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for dredging
- 1½ Teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle lager-style beer
- Peanut oil, for frying
- 3 russet potatoes (8–10 ounces each), scrubbed
- 1½ Pound halibut fillets
- 1-2 large dill pickles, cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds
Whisk the mayonnaise, tarragon, and vinegar together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
Whisk the flour and Old Bay together in a large bowl. Pour in the beer and whisk until the batter is smooth.
Fill a large, heavy saucepan half-full with oil and heat to 350 degrees F. Heat the oven to 200 degrees F.
While the oil heats, slice the potatoes into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Working in batches, add the potato slices to the oil. Fry, turning occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, cooked through, and just starting to turn golden, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Cut the fish crosswise into ½- to ¾-inch-thick slices and season with salt and pepper on all sides. Place some flour in a shallow bowl. Dredge the fish in the flour. Working in batches and bringing the oil back up to 350°F between each batch, dip the fish into the beer batter to coat, let excess batter drip back into the bowl, and use a bamboo skewer or your hands to lower the fish halfway into the oil. Hold for 10 seconds, then release (this helps prevent sticking on the bottom). Fry until deep golden and just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the fish to a rack set over a baking sheet and slide into the oven to keep warm.
When you’ve finished frying the fish, heat the oil to 375 degrees F. Again working in batches, fry the potatoes a second time until puffed and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Pile them in a bowl lined with paper towels.
Working in batches, dredge the pickles in flour, dip into the beer batter to coat lightly, let the excess batter drip off, and fry until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Divide the fish, chips, and pickles among your plates and serve immediately, with the tarragon–malt vinegar mayonnaise on the side.