Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Breaded Whiting Fish and Chips

Breaded whiting and chips with tartare sauce

Fish and chips is a classic dish at any time but there is something extra special about preparing it with a fish you caught yourself. Although on this particular occasion I wasn't on the very successful fishing trip to Loch Etive, I was fortunate enough to be gifted a couple of beautiful whiting from the collective spoils when the group returned. As a result, I had this first whiting cleaned, cooked and on the plate approximately four or five hours after it was caught. You can't get much fresher than that...

Loch Etive

The whiting had been gutted on the boat, immediately after they were caught. This helps keep the flesh in pristine condition for longer. All I had to do therefore was fillet the fish, skin the fillets and get cooking. This fish and chips recipe is what I made with two of the fillets - I'll share what I did with the other two over the next day or so.

Freshly caught whiting

There are of course several different ways in which fish can be filleted and no right or wrong procedure. All that really matters is the end result. This is the way in which I fillet fish like whiting, pollack or cod.

Preparing to fillet whiting

You will need a large chopping board and a filleting knife. Do not underestimate the importance of using a proper knife of this type.

Head is removed from gutted whiting

Cut the head from the whiting and discard.

Starting to fillet whiting

Sit the fish on its belly and cut along the centre of the back, immediately to one side of the dorsal fin. Let the bones guide your knife as you cut - always in the same direction, with small slits - until you can force your knife all the way through and slice the full fillet free to the tail.

First fillet removed from whiting

Turn the fish around and essentially do the same on the second side. You will likely find the second fillet a bit more awkward to remove but by simply taking your time you should get the job done.

Second fillet removed from whiting

Depending upon how you intend cooking the fillets, you may want to leave the skin intact. For the two recipes I intended preparing, however, the skin required removing.

Fresh whiting fillets

Lay the fillet on your board, skin side down, the narrow end nearest to your weaker hand. Make a nick with your knife at an angle as close to the narrow end of the fillet as you can. Grip the end of the skin and pull it gently but firmly away from the knife as you slide the knife backwards and forwards over the skin and under the flsesh.

Starting to skin whiting fillet

You should soon reach the far end of the fillet and be left with clean skin and a perfect skinless fillet.

Skinned whiting fillet

The chips that I served with my fish I prepared by the three stage method. That involves firstly parboiling them in salted water for five minutes, cooling them in the fridge, frying them once, cooling them again and frying for a second time. You can of course prepare them in any way you wish.

Parboiling chipped potatoes

The fish here is shallow fried in a little bit of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan. In order to dress the fish, I firstly beat an egg in a deep plate and scattered fish dressing breadcrumbs on a large dinner plate.

Beaten egg and breadcrumbs for dressing fish

The fillets were firstly dragged through the beaten egg before being carefully patted in the breadcrumbs. If you wish an extra thick coating, you can follow this procedure twice.

Breaded whiting fillets

Bring the vegetable oil in your pan up to a medium heat before laying in the fillets. Fry for three to four minutes before carefully turning with a fish slice.

Starting to fry breaded whiting fillets

The breadcrumbs should turn beautifully golden and become crisp as they fry.

Breaded whiting fillets turned in frying pan

This fish shaped plate is perfect for fish and chips but you probably won't have a similar one so use a large plate of your choice. Lay the chips on the plate and season with salt and vinegar.

Chips are laid first on serving plate

Lay the fish fillets on top of the fish and again season with salt and vinegar.

Breaded whiting fillets are laid on chips

A lemon wedge and a small sprig of basil serve as a garnish before some tartare sauce is spooned on to the plate to serve.

Lemon wedge and basil sprig garnish breaded whiting and chips

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