Friday, June 5, 2009

Pub Crawl to Nowhere

When Brandon & I went on our whirlwind European tour the summer of 2005, we were on a shoestring budget, and in London that meant eating at a lot of cheap pubs. Luckily for Brandon, he loves traditional fish and chips. Me, not so much.

Then last night on a "Barefoot Contessa" rerun, she was making fish & chips, and I remembered I still had some dover fish in the freezer. Ina's recipe was simple, and looked easy enough to execute so I decided to give it a go. I've yet to go wrong with one of Ina's dishes.

But as much as I love Ina's recipes, I usually end up giving them my own little twist and her fish & chips was no exception. I substituted water in the batter for cold beer, and dredged the fish pieces in flour before dipping them in the batter. And although her recipe calls for cod, I used the thinner dover and some red snapper. Brandon and my dad preferred the snapper because it was thicker and meatier, but I liked the dover.

We also played around with the chips, using both red potatoes and Japanese yams. I discovered satsuma imo at our local Japanese market several months ago and became an instant convert. Its red skin looks very similar to your garden variety garnet yams, but inside the flesh is white. In addition to a shorter cooking time, these Japanese yams have a more subtle, sweet flavor than regular ones. I like to bake them with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and serve them with ham, or fry them up as tempura.

Although my English fish & chips night was a success, I have to say, I'm still not a big fan. I think next time I'm going to make a dipping sauce with some vinegar, red chilies, fish sauce and garlic to give it an Asian spin.

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