Fish & Chips

Fish & Chips

Growing up in Central Pennsylvania, our family did not eat a lot of fish. The only time I remember seeing fish on our dinner table was during Lent when mom served it with her usual two accompanying side dishes; stewed tomatoes and spinach leaves with a bitter vinegar dressing. Don’t get me wrong, mom is a good cook…she’s made some really delicious meals, but back then fish was not one of them. When I went off to college and met my husband, who is from Panama (which actually means abundance of fish), he was surprised that I didn’t like fish and even though he encouraged me to try it, I still just found it so unappealing that I wouldn’t. I can be pretty stubborn sometimes. 

Years go by and the only time my family eats fish is when we’re at a restaurant – and thank goodness my husband encourages my boys to try all types of seafood, shellfish & fish…Then one night we meet friends at a Cuban Restaurant, Alma de Cuba  on Walnut Street in Philadelphia. My hubby drops me at the door and heads off to find parking. I go inside to meet our friends who have just been seated and have ordered a $52 appetizer of seven different ceviche. Wow. I think to myself, well if we’re paying half of this very expensive appetizer I’d better at least give it a try!! Well, needless to say it was fantastic. Alma de Cuba actually became my favorite restaurant (not just for the ceviche but for everything on the menu!)

That night was an eye opener for me. I began to experiment when we went out for dinner and learned to like fish. Cooking it was another matter – it has taken me quite a few years to add fish and seafood to our menu but it’s finally a weekly occurrence. Here’s this week’s addition to the menu.

Fish & ‘Chips’
2 large Idaho potatoes
extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
3 long & thick fresh cod fillets
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
lemon zest (1 large lemon)
2 eggs
canola oil
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Scrub the potatoes clean; slice in half lengthwise, then into three or four wedges depending on the size of the potato. Toss into a bowl. Pour in about 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with cumin, paprika, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt and a few dashes of fresh ground pepper. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and line the potatoes in the dish. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender (alternately potatoes can be pre-cooked in the microwave for 2 minutes and then placed in the preheated oven to finish cooking while the fish is cooking)

Slice the cod lengthwise in half; then cut each half into three portions. Season with salt & pepper and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper. Whisk in a cup of water along with the two eggs. Heat canola oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat (the oil is ready when a drop of the batter placed in the oil bubbles). Have a splatter screen handy! Using tongs, dip each fish piece in the batter, allow excess batter to drip back into bowl, then place battered fish gently in the hot oil; don’t overcrowd the fish. Lower the heat to medium, medium-low and allow to cook 2-4 minutes on each side until nicely browned and cooked through. Remove the pieces to a plate that’s been lined with a paper towel and continue cooking the remaining pieces. Remove the baked potato wedges from the oven and serve with tartar sauce (see mine below)

This recipe is adapted from Parker’s Fish & Chips, a recipe in a cookbook called ‘Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Family Style’

Tartar Sauce
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sweet relish



5 thoughts on “Fish & Chips

  1. Love this post. I’m with you I love getting fish in restaurants (ESPECIALLY ceviche at Alma de Cuba!!) I order fish almost every time I’m out, but rarely cook it. I’ll have to give this a try!


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