Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Bass 'n' Chips

Bass is expensive, especially wild, fresh, line caught bass which is prohibitively so - the exclusive reserve of millionaires, seals and anglers - so why anyone would want to make fish 'n' chips instead of some TV chef franglais concoction out of such a dainty may be beyond comprehension, until that is, you have tried it. There's no need for us Brits to be shy here, a good old fashioned fish 'n' chip supper properly cooked is a world class dish. This is a variation on the classic theme...

Bass has white flesh that is unlike that of cod and haddock, the latter being flaky - dissolving in the mouth and the former meaty - requiring a chew, so I prepare and fillet the very fresh fish taking care to remove the pin bones in the flanks with pliers and then cut the fillets into egg sized chunks, dip them in a simple beer batter and then fry in a wok full of hot vegetable oil and when cooked to a light golden brown, drain well on loads of kitchen roll lining a colander. Don't put too many chunks in the wok at a time as you'll get a disaster waiting to happen on your hands!

The chips are made from whatever is your favourite chipping spud, mine being King Edwards or Maris Piper. The chips are deep fried by plunging them into hot oil that only just covers them on a rolling boil (which means starting off with rather less oil than you might think) and then leaving them well alone until they just begin to appear lightly cooked on the top side and are quite firm and stiff enough to be handled without breaking up, then give the whole lot a flip over with a perforated spoon and a stir about and then serve as soon as they appear a light golden brown.

Mayonnaise and a green leaf salad of choice with crusty white bread and a bottle of ice cold good quality reisling is everything else you'll need.

The beauty of cooking bass like this is that everybody can eat as much or as little as they like as the chunks are each the size of a starter portion, unlike the traditional serving of a whole fillet of cod in batter which can easily defeat the biggest stomach and daunt most ordinary mortals. You also get a lot more crispy batter for your buck, which cannot possibly be a bad thing...

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