While Fish and Almost Chips shares its two main ingredients with the British national takeaway dish alluded to in the title, its differences are significant enough to mention right upfront. Those changes make this recipe especially home-cook friendly – and healthful to boot.
We are roasting and broiling, instead of coating and frying, so there is less mess and no lingering smell of grease in the air. Snowy white cod is used here, but you could substitute with other equally thick and mild-tasting fish fillets. Instead of relying on a beer batter or tartar sauce to give it flavor, a marinade of garlic, lemon and olive oil does the trick.
So, the meal's not fit for wrapping in waxed newsprint, but here's what you will get: some-crisped, some-tender potatoes, succulent fish, and one pan with minimal cleanup.
Fish and Almost Chips
Time: 35 minutes
11/2 pounds large red-skinned potatoes (about 5)
4 small-to-medium shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 small bunch fresh chives
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
11/2 pounds skinned cod fillets, about 3/4-inch thick
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (may substitute 3 tablespoons dry white wine)
Leaves from 4 stems fresh parsley
Several stems fresh thyme
Position an oven rack 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a double thickness of aluminum foil (or a single sheet of heavy-duty foil), then grease it with cooking oil spray.
Rinse and dry the potatoes, trimming any eyes and the rounded ends. Cut the potatoes into thin slices – 1/4-inch thick or less – placing them in a large microwave-safe bowl as you work.
Add a few tablespoons of water to the bowl; cover with paper towel and microwave on HIGH for 8 minutes, until almost tender, repositioning them halfway through for even cooking.
Meanwhile, peel and cut the shallots into thin slices. Mince the garlic. Finely chop or snip the chives, to yield 3 tablespoons.
Carefully drain the water from the bowl of hot potato slices, then spread them on the lined baking sheet, along with the shallots, the 1/4 cup of oil, half the chives and about one-third of the garlic, tossing to distribute them evenly. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast (top rack) for 15 minutes, until the potatoes have fully softened and browned a bit.
While the potatoes are in the oven, cut the fish into 4 pieces of equal size; place them in a mixing bowl. Zest the lemon to yield 2 teaspoons, then juice it to yield 2 tablespoons, directly over the fish. Add the remaining garlic and 2 tablespoons of oil and the vinegar, then toss to coat evenly. Let the fish marinate until the oven has preheated to broil.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven; preheat the broiler. Place the marinated pieces of fish on top of the potatoes, and pour about half the marinade left in the bowl over the fish. Return the pan to the oven and broil for about 5 minutes, or to your desired degree of doneness. Some of the potatoes will brown and crisp at the edges; rotate the pan from front to back if they begin to burn.
During the last stretch in the oven, strip enough thyme leaves to yield 2 teaspoons. Coarsely chop the parsley. Top the fish and potatoes with the thyme, parsley and remaining chives. Serve right away.
– Adapted from “One Pot Recipes: Meals for Your Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker, Dutch Oven, Sheet Pan, Skillet and More,” by Ellen Brown
– Bonnie S. Benwick, Washington Post