Here’s a fun spin on the idea of fish and chips. Neither breaded nor fried, this dish still captures the spirit of sea and spud.
For the fish & chips
2 fillets of grey sole
Note: you can use any kind of sole, but I like grey sole the best because of its mild flavor. Get whatever is freshest from your fishmonger.
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbs olive oil
juice of a whole lemon
fresh thyme (for garnish)
1 lb yukon gold potatoes
1-2 tbs canola oil
chives (for garnish)
Kosher Salt & pepper to taste
First prepare the potatoes by placing them in a large pot of cold water and bringing it to a slow boil. Cook the potatoes until they are just tender enough to pierce with a knife. Remove them from the pot of water and let them cool enough to handle
While the potatoes cool, prep the fish. Remove the fillets from their packaging and gently, carefully rinse them under cool water and pat them dry with paper towels. Lie them on a cutting board and season both sides with Kosher salt (about 1/4 tsp per side, per piece) and freshly ground pepper.
Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them into thick rounds (about 1/4″ thick). In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Once the oil is getting hot, add the sliced potatoes such that each potato is in full contact with the hot pan (you want to fry them until they are brown on both sides, so don’t crowd them too much). Let the potatoes fry about 3-4 minutes, then check the underside using a pair of tongs. If the potato resists being lifted off the pan, it is not ready. Keep cooking and check again in a minute or so. Once the potatoes are a nice golden brown on the bottom, turn them over using the tongs. Season them generously on both sides with Kosher salt as you cook and turn them.
Once you’ve turn the potatoes, it is time to begin cooking the fish. Start by browning the butter. In a skillet large enough to hold both fillets of fish, heat the 1 tbs butter over medium heat. Let the butter melt. Watch it foam, and as the foam begins to subside, gently swirl the pan to move the butter around. You are waiting for the critical moment — the moment the fats in the butter begin to turn brown. Watch carefully, closely, vigilantly…for once this happens the butter can very quickly go from lovely and browned to horribly burned.
AS SOON AS you see the brown bits begin to appear in the butter, remove the pan from the flame and add the olive oil. Swirl the olive oil through the butter. This cools the butter and raises the smoke point of the mixture so the butter will not brown any further as you continue to cook the fish.
Set the pan of browned butter aside and check your potatoes. Probably they are done. Turn off the heat and set the potatoes to drain on paper towels. Rain a bit more salt on them and give them a few grinds of fresh pepper.
Okay, so, return the pan with the brown butter and olive oil to the stove on medium heat and add the fish fillets once it’s nice and hot again. Let the fillets sizzle and cook about 2-3 minutes before turning them. You’ll need a fish spatula to turn these delicate fillets over with totally destroying them, FYI. But, even if you do mangle them, don’t worry, they’ll still taste good 🙂 After you flip the fillets, drizzle the fresh squeezed lemon juice over them and add another sprinkle of Kosher salt.
Salt, guys, it’s your friend. I promise.
Cook the fish another 2-3 minutes, then carefully transfer it to the plates with your fish spatula. Sprinkle a few fresh leaves of thyme over the fish. Pile up some crispy, browned potatoes next to the fish and top them with freshly snipped chives (or, if you like, go Old School and serve them with katsup!).
Fish and Chips go great with a nice fresh salad. Try beets with goat cheese or a salad of fennel, radish and mango.