Well, maybe not exactly a veggie fake-out, but a healthy meal nonetheless, inspired by one of my husband’s favorite Brooklyn restaurants, The Chip Shop. Its an awesome little place, maybe you’ve heard of it. It has found its way into countless Food Network specials and magazine articles due to the fact that those wacky Brits are willing to deep fry nearly anything in their heavenly house batter – twinkies, cadbury cream eggs, slices of pizza – you name it. But its the superb fish & chips that keep us coming back (although I think the fact that they serve Old Speckled Hen Ale on tap in proper British 20oz pint glasses might hold a tiny bit of the appeal for my husband.)
We made ourselves quite comfy there last weekend, amidst the Beatlemania posters and hand-drawn portrait of Harry Potter’s Hermione enjoying her crispy cod fillets. Halfway through my deep fried shrimp & chip dinner in a basket (and giganto pint o’ beer), I wondered what I could do in the kitchen to inspire my husband to dig into an equally large portion of fish with such lusty abandon, minus the deep fryer.
Kitty’s Fish & Chips
1 pound cod fillets, cut into 4 equal portions
buttermilk, to cover
2 slices white sandwich bread, toasted
2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
3 tablespoons olive oil
seasoning, to taste (I used Adobo & dried parsley)
salt & pepper
for the chips
4 sweet potatoes, cut into wedges, skin on
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt & pepper
The best part of this meal, is its a snap to whip up and clean up. As long as you’ve preheated your oven, you can have dinner on the table in well under an hour. Start out preheating the oven to 425F. Add your cod fillets to a bowl, and cover completely with buttermilk, with a bit of salt & pepper mixed in. Slice the potatoes into steak-fry sized wedges, leaving the skin on. Scatter them on a foil-lined baking sheet, and drizzle them with olive oil and the seasonings, mixing with your hands until each potato wedge is covered. Pop them into the oven.
Toast your bread, and crumble into pieces into the body of a food processor. Buzz into crumbs, adding your choice of seasonings, and 2 or so tablespoons of olive oil. The crumbs should be not quite fine, and shouldn’t appear oily, but feel slightly moist to the touch. Place the crumbs in a dish. Remove each cod fillet from the buttermilk, shaking off the excess, and dredge in the breadcrumb mixture, patting the breadcrumbs onto the fish. Place each fillet on a baking sheet you’ve lined with foil and drizzled lightly with oil.
Are the potatoes sizzling and smelling great? They should be after 15 or 20 minutes. Take them out of the oven, and turn each one. Place back in the oven, along with the tray of fish.
After another 20 minutes, everything should be done. The fish will be crisp and browned on the outside, with a flaky and perfectly moist center. The potatoes will be at once crunchy, soft and fragrant. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce, and don’t be surprised when your husband who wrinkled his nose when he heard he was being served baked fish for dinner asks for seconds.