Last weekend I was down in Cork and my brother and his lovely lady told me that a very well known chip shop in Douglas, KC & Sons had started to list gluten free options on their menu. Being in that fragile state when one is not quite hungover but in need of salt and grease in order to keep body and soul together (post a weekend of wedding celebrations for my cousin) I was definitely interested in checking this out. Unfortunately when we reached that point in the queue when our orders were taken and I requested the gluten free option I heard the dreaded question, are you celiac? Now in O’Briens sandwich shop that is a reassuring question as it means the staff are going to be extra careful when making your sandwich however I knew by the grimace of this guy’s face that this was not the reason he was asking. On hearing that I am indeed celiac he then said that the food wasn’t suitable as it was cooked in the same oil as all the gluten containing foodstuffs.
All I will say to KC & Sons is that they should not list things on their menu as gluten free when they are most definitely not. They should be clear that the product is made using gluten free ingredients and then extra clear about the fact that they are going to negate all that work by firing it in a fryer that is contaminated with gluten. I knew to be careful but a teenager or someone newly diagnosed could just have taken the statement of gluten free as fact and been made ill by eating unsuitable food. That is the issue here, gluten contaminated food will make people suffering with celiac disease very ill. Stop trying to appeal to a newly emerging demographic of people who choose to avoid gluten (I have no problem with those people at all, eat what makes you feel good) and be honest in your menus.
Long rant over the end story is that I ended up without my chipper fix so this week I decided to make some compensatory fish and chips
The beer batter recipe is from Jamie Oliver adapted to be gluten free, the tartar sauce is Ina Garten and the chips are from Guy Fieri because I believe that guy knows a thing or two about chips. If you don’t have a deep fat fryer then you will need a sugar / oil thermometer for this but they are not expensive and you will get more use out of this piece of kitchen equipment than you might think.
The best plan of action for this dinner is to peel and chip the potatoes and leave the chips to soak in water, next make the tartar sauce as this can be put in the fridge until needed. Make the batter for the fish and set aside. Give the twice cooked chips their first fry and then while they are cooling batter and fry the fish, while the fish is resting you can give the chips their second two minute fry. If you follow this plan everything will be still hot and crispy when you plate up.
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped cornichons
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar ( I used red wine vinegar as that is what I had and the sauce was not ruined)
1 tablespoon of capers
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Simply put all of the ingredients ion to a blender or food processor, I used my immersion blender, and blend until the pickles and capers are finely chopped but not pureed. Spoon the sauce in to a bowl and place in the fridge until you need it.
Twice Cooked Chips
2 large potatoes, I used roosters
1 tablespoons fine-grain sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Peel the potatoes and cut in to thin chips. Soak the chips in cold water for an hour to remove some of the starch.
When you are ready to fry, dry the chips on some kitchen paper.
Heat about an inch and a half of the oil in a heavy bottomed deep sided pot until your thermometer reads 325 degrees and then carefully add in some of the chips, don’t over crowd the pan or you will just get soggy chips.
Par cook until the chips are light brown this will take five to seven minutes. Remove the chips using a slotted spoon or basket and gently shake off excess oil. Allow the chips to rest on some kitchen paper.
Repeat this process until all of the potatoes are par cooked.
When you are ready to give the chips there second fry reheat the oil to 325 degrees and cook the potatoes, again a handful or so at a time so you don’t over crowd the pan. Fry until the chips are a deep golden brown, this should take about two minutes, again remove the chips from the oil and shake off the excess oil and drain on some kitchen paper.
Season with salt and pepper.
Beer Battered Fish
2 fillets of white fish, I used Hake but Cod would be just as nice.
115 grams of Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour, plus extra for dusting the fish
100 ml of Gluten Free Beer
1 and ½ teaspoons of gluten free baking powder
Salt and Pepper
Season the fish fillets on both sides with the salt and pepper
Make a batter by mixing the flour, baking powder and beer in a bowl with a hand whisk, you want the consistency of the batter to be like a thick double cream, thick enough that it will coat the fish.
When you are ready to fry the fish heat the oil to 375
Dust the fillets on both sides with the flour and shake off the excess next holding one end in your fingers submerge the fillets in the batter until fully coated and carefully lower in to the very hot oil. Mind your fingers!
Cook for four to five minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets until the batter is golden brown and crispy.
Remove from the oil and allow to drain on kitchen paper.
Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce or just plain ketchup and vinegar.