Tomorrow is Good Friday,a day when most Christians, especially Catholics, forego meat.It's a day usually spent visiting churches and then settling down to pasta or fish for lunch and dinner. Most settle for fish and chips.It's usually a greasy messy affair however there is a way to get around it..Baking .
Melissa Clark wrote about this as well as experimented with it in her A Good Appetite column in yesterday's New York Times Food section. This British classic is tasty yet loaded with grease. Traditionally both the fish and the potatoes are fried in deep fat . This does lead to a crunchy batter for the fish and a golden fry, however every bite is loaded with grease. It's not only bad for digestion ,it' can be to much. Home chefs want a balance of crunchy and flavorful. Ms. Clark has found that this comes in baking. It eliminates the need for a sometimes dangerous deep fryer along with making the dish relatively healthy.The end result is more or less the same, but without that greasy coating on the tongue and an equally greasy aftertaste. Another plus is that its not a heavy batter but a coating of light, panko breadcrumbs. As for the fish cod is the most traditional, Ms Clark also recommends hake too or any white fish. As for the potatoes russets work well here. These are the brown Idaho potatoes also used for baking and will give a mealy, substantial chip.The dish can be served with malt vinegar or a homemade tartar sauce.
The first step in making fish and chips is prepping the fish. The oven should be first preheated to 500 degrees Farenheit and two pans, one for the hake or cod and a second for the potatoes should be placed inside. Then it's browning the breadcrumbs in olive oil, thyme and garlic first because the crumbs don't brown in the oven. Afterwards dredge the fish fillets in plain flour , then a mix of eggs and Dijon mustard before getting a final coating of breadcrumbs.Make sure each piece is well coated before baking.This process can be done up to four hours before cooking if you want to do it earlier in the day.Cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch sticks to ensure that they'll be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They should be tossed in oil along with salt and pepper.Olive oil is the preferred oil to use here.Spread both the fish and chips on the two preheated baking pans and reduce the temperature to 425 degrees Farenheit The fish should be flaky and tender when done while the chips should be a golden brown. Serve with a homemade tartar sauce as Ms. Clark recommends but you can also go traditional and serve with a malt vinegar or just ketchup.
Fish and chips are an appropriate Good Friday meal. It's a healthier spin on the traditional recipe while sticking to religious traditions. People can enjoy a tasty good for you lunch or dinner while observing the holy day.