At our house, we are very excited that the Olympics are FINALLY here. We all stayed up to watch the Opening Ceremony and ever since, the Olympics are always on.
To celebrate the Olympics, each week we are going to make a dish representative of a country in the Olympics. First week....England (Great Britain), of course!
This week we made Fish and Chips. This is kind of a big deal for me because I really don't like fish. Everyone says, "Oh, but you will love the way I cook it." AND....I never do. I just don't like it but everyone else in my family does so...here we go.
For our Fish & Chips dinner, I also wanted to add onion rings to the mix because, well, I could eat my onion rings all day. Because onion rings are delicious fresh out of the oil or after they have been sitting for a few minutes, I made them up first. The recipe I used is actually my dad's recipe. I have eaten these onion rings since I was a child and they ALWAYS turn out. For tonight's onion rings, I used Walla Walla Sweet onions (Have you ever used Walla Walla's? They are fabulous!). Also, my dad uses Saltine Crackers but we never have those around here so I used Ritz Crackers and I really liked the buttery flavor they added. With permission from my dad, here is the recipe as was told to me by my dad for our family cookbook...
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
2 large onions sliced approximately 1/2 inch wide. Punch out the holes leaving individual rings.
1 to 2 cups flour
2 cups milk
Worchestershire sauce (Optional)
1 sleeve of Saltine (or Ritz) Crackers, crushed
Dip rings in a milk bath and then in flour. Allow them to dry. (I dry mine on a cooling rack).
When rings are dry, add eggs, Worcestershire sauce (I never use this), salt and anything else you want to try to the milk bath.
I like to set up a station doing the next part. It can get really messy if you're not careful. First, dip rings in the new milk bath and then individually into the crushed cracker. Pat crushed crackers so that they cover the entire ring. Periodically sift the crushed crackers to get rid of the little goobers that start to accumulate.
Carefully drop a few onion rings into the hot oil (I had my oil between 300* and 350*) and cook until golden brown (a few minutes).
Take out cooked onion rings and drain on a paper towel or newspaper.
Next comes the french fries. The best homemade french fries take time. Give yourself time!
Vegetable Oil, for frying
3 Bakers Potatoes (I used three and my family of 5 couldn't eat all of the fries)
For my fries, I like to use Bakers Potatoes. I grab the potatoes that are the longest.
First, I pealed the potato and then sliced it into long sticks. Next, I put the potato sticks into a large bowl of water and let them sit in the refrigerator for about 3 hours until I was ready to use them.
When I was ready to make my fries, I heated my oil to 350*, drained the potato sticks and then dropped the them into the oil (small bunches at a time...the oil bubbles up a lot so be sure not to overflow the pot). I then gave the sticks a little stir so they didn't stick to each other. Fry them for 1 - 2 minutes. Remove and let drain on a rack.
After all the potato sticks are done frying, raise your oil heat to 375* and, again in small bundles, drop your fries into the oil again, this time frying for 4 - 5 minutes. Remove from oil and let drain on rack. Salt.
The fish was the last part of the meal I did. It cooks so quickly and is best eaten when it is still hot (in my opinion). When I do eat fish, the only fish I can stomach is white fish. Our grocery store had some lovely cod so hesitantly I grabbed two fillets and went for it. Having never made fish before, I went to THE man in the kitchen...Tyler Florence. I found this recipe by him that looked easy enough. The changes that I made are in green.
Vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 cups rice flour (I used regular white flour)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 1 (12-ounce) can soda water
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 (8-ounce) cod, cut in 1/2 on an angle
- 1/2 cup rice flour, for dredging (Again, I used regular white flour)
- Malt vinegar, for serving
Heat 3 inches of the oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees F. Alternatively, use a deep heavy skillet.
Crank the oil temperature up to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Combine soda water and egg and pour into the flour mixture. Whisk to a smooth batter. Spread the rice flour on a plate. Dredge the fish pieces in the rice flour and then dip them into the batter, letting the excess drip off.
Give these dishes a try and remember...its okay to make mistakes in the kitchen. I have thrown entire pots of concoctions out before because they didn't turn out how I liked it. That's how we learn.