Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lightened Up Fish & Chips - Potato Chip Crusted Cod + Malt Vinegar Reduction

Fish and Chips with Malt Vinegar is a classic dish best known for its popularity in the British Isles. Its timeless appeal is not accidental.  A nice, firm White Fish (typically Cod or Haddock) enrobed in crispy deep fried batter usually sounds pretty good to me. Of course, Fish and Chips is hardly a figure-friendly dish, but is there a way to make it a bit less rich? Turns out that Salt and Vinegar Chips (the ONLY Chip flavor as far as I'm concerned) are the key to satisfying your Fish and Chips craving without a deep-fryer. The second key is of course not to eat the remainder of the bag - but they are so tempting! 

Salt and Vinegar Potato Chip Crusted "Fish & Chips" with Lemon Parsley Potatoes and Malt Vinegar Reduction
Photo: NK 

To guard against this inevitability I bought two single-serve bags of Salt and Vinegar Chips. We all know I have zero self-control and the two bags contained just the right amount for this recipe's crispy Crust. Depending on how coated you'd like your Fillets, you can even use less crumb topping. 

Since the "Chips" in classic Fish and Chips are really just the British way of referring to French Fries, today's answer to this component of the meal will instead be fast-cooking Fingerling Potatoes brightened up by Lemon Zest, Parsley and tossed in only a small amount of Oil. They might not be real "Chips" but they are pretty tasty and definitely easy so we're invoking some creative license here. Finally, to tie everything together, Classic Malt Vinegar gets an update by being reduced down to a syrupy drizzle. The Vinegar Reduction can be made even a few days ahead and the Potatoes are cooked quickly, just before the fish - believe it or not, even without advanced preparation you can have this dish ready in just about 45 minutes to 1 hour. We hope you enjoy our slightly lighter update of a classic guilty pleasure.

Timing this Recipe & Order of Preparation:

Start to finish, you can prep and cook this dish and all its accompaniments in 45 min to 1 hour. Cook time is only about 35 minutes total for Potato Side Dish and Fish. Malt Vinegar Reduction can be made in advance or as the oven preheats (it takes 10 minutes or so) - Here's how and when to do it all:

Prep and chop all ingredients for the Potatoes. 

Make the Malt Vinegar Reduction ahead if you have time, or make it while the oven is preheating for the Potatoes (500 degrees).

Make the Potatoes. Prep all Fish Ingredients while Potatoes cook. When Potatoes are finished, lower oven to 400 degrees for the Fish and set the Potatoes aside. They can be served at room temperature or reheated one or two minutes before Fish is done. In fact you could pop them back in the oven for the last minute or two that the Fish cooks. 

Make the Fish and finish it a minute or two under the Broiler to achieve a nice golden brown crust. Serve with a drizzle of Malt Vinegar Reduction on the Fish and extra on the side. Enjoy!  

Salt and Vinegar Potato Chip Crusted Cod & Potatoes with Malt Vinegar Reduction
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 2 

2 - 6 to 8 Ounce Cod Fillets

Salt and Pepper

1 Recipe Lemon Parsley Fingerling Potatoes* (recipe follows)
1 Recipe Malt Vinegar Reduction* (recipe follows)
About 2 Cups of Salt and Vinegar Flavored Kettle Chips
1/4 teaspoon Hot Smoked Spanish Paprika or Regular Paprika
2 heaping teaspoons Light or Fat Free Mayonnaise
Parchment Paper

Make the Malt Vinegar Reduction. (Can be done a day or two in advance if you like)
Make the Lemon Parsley Fingerling Potatoes. Both recipes are below.

For the Fish, Preheat oven to 400.
Crush Potato Chips into fine crumbs by placing them in a plastic bag and smacking them with a blunt object. Sprinkle Paprika into the Potato Chip Crumbs and combine. 

Place Cod Fillets on a piece of Parchment in a Baking Dish.

Season Cod Fillets lightly with a pinch of Salt and some Pepper

Evenly spread 1 teaspoon or so of Light Mayonnaise evenly over each Cod Fillet.
Preparing the Cod, Photo: NK

Gently press Potato Chip Crumbs all over each Fillet, covering the top of them completely.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until somewhat firm and opaque. 

Turn on Broiler and finish the Fish for 1.5 minutes under the Broiler to brown the crust. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. Fish is done when it is easily flaked off with a fork. 

Serve immediately with Fingerling Potatoes on the side and a drizzle of Malt Vinegar Reduction over the Fish. Serve extra Malt Vinegar Reduction on the side as well. 

Malt Vinegar Reduction
Makes enough for at least 6 Servings of Fish 
(Keeps in the fridge for a few days and can be made a day or more in advance)

1 teaspoon White Sugar
3/4 Cup Malt Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Beer (Optional)

In a small pot, bring ingredients to a gentle boil. Allow to boil slowly, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about a third of the volume. Once reduced, the liquid should become very syrup and spoon should be coated. This will take about 8-10 minutes. Be sure to watch the Vinegar cook the whole time. It's easy to go from syrup to shellac and totally ruin your vinegar and pan. Once desired consistency is achieved, set aside Vinegar Reduction in a heatproof vessel to cool. 

Lemon Parsley Fingerling Potatoes
Lemon Parsley Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Photo:NK
Serves 2-3

1 Pound Fingerling Potatoes
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
1/4 finely chopped Italian Parsley
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest

Preheat oven to 500. 

Toss Potatoes in Oil and place in a baking pan.

Sprinkle with Kosher Salt and Pepper. 

Bake for 22 minutes until tender and golden, shaking the pan once in a while to rotate Potatoes. 

When cooked, toss in the Lemon Zest and Parsley. These can be served at room temperature or rewarmed slightly for a minute or two when ready to serve. 


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