This is well.... I know.... kinda of a blasphemy. I’m well aware. My Brit friends would call me a wanker, my newfoundlander friends would call me much worst for combining the words fish and chips along with tacos. But the reality is they are really good.
Fish and chips (or fries if you don’t know that chips means fries.... or freedom fries if you are a crazy person....) originates in England and became a staple during the industrial revolution. The first shop to sell fish and chips exclusively was in London in 1860. The brits call those a chippy. The fish (Typically Cod or haddock) is dipped in a beer batter and then deep fried. The result is a thick crispy outer shell that keep the fish moist and soft on the inside. If the fish filet is thick, you want a thick batter. If the you have a thin batter, then it cooks too quickly and the fish ends up either over cooked and the batter is under cooked. The opposite is also true.
In this case, I made a much thinner batter, because smelts are very small and I wrapped the whole thing in a tortilla. Also I opted to do smelts instead of code. They are a freshwater fish that is available in large quantities in the great lakes in Canada and the USA. Actually, there is a town in the US that has a 2 day smelt festival. South Korea has a fish festival that coincides with the smelts laying their eggs, there they are typically eaten alive, something I had not had the chance to do, but I am looking forward to it.
The only thing I’ve ever eaten live was a shrimp at a sushi bar in Los Angeles. This is actually a funny story. My friend Peter and I used to go to this one particular sushi place on Ventura Boulevard, this was back in my single days. There was one waitress there that I had a crush on, and so I spent several weeks learning how to order in Japanese and say a few witty comments. Once I finally got to tell her all the things I learned, she looked at me with a little funny smile and said “sorry, I’m Korean”. That was the last time we went there!
The reason I chose smelts is that they are small, cook quickly, and have a lovely taste when they are deep fried.
- Salt & Pepper
- Dried Savory
- 2 Large potatoes
- Tortilla chips
- Cherry tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- Canola Oil (for trying)
For the Sauce:
- Greek Yogurt
- Pickled cucumber
- 1 Lime (the juice) or 2 depending on their size
1- Crack the egg in a wide bowl and beat well.
2- Dip each fish in flower, then in the egg, then back in flower.
3- Cut your potatoes into thin rings, not too thin because then they will be too crunchy. Unless that’s the way you want them.
3- You’ll need 2 pans, one to deep fry the fish and one to make the fries. Put Canola Oil in both and put the pans on high heat.
4- When the Oil is hot, start putting the fish in slowly and reduce the heat to medium high. They will cook very quickly because they are tiny, it takes just about 1 or 2 minutes max.
5- At the same time, put your potatoes into the oil.
6- While that’s going on, cut up your tomatoes and dice the onion and cilantro. Add some olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and the juice of 1 lime.
7- When the fish is golden brown take it out of the oil and put it to rest on paper towel. Do the same with the chips.
8- As soon as the chips come out of the oil, sprinkle with salt and the dry savory.
1- In bowl combine 3-4 heaped table spoons of yogurt, 1-2 tea spoons of mayonnaise, a dash of paprika and the juice of the 1 lime.
2- Finely dice the pickle and add to the bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well.
3- Taste it, adjust your salt and pepper. Add more lime juice....it should taste zingy.
To know when the oil is hot enough to start deep trying, put the handle end of a wooden spoon and touch the bottom of the pan. If you see little bubbles, then it’s ready.