Back in 2003, I used to host a radio show called the Rock Copter, for Total Rock. The station was above a pub in south London. Across the road was the best fish and chips restaurant in London, run by these twin brothers. They spent their lives buying rundown fish and chip joints, rebuilding them, turning them around and flipping them for a nice profit so that they could go off travelling. When the money ran out, they would return to London and find another chippy. These dudes taught me how to make the perfect fish and chips – it’s all about the temperature of the oil. If it’s not hot enough, you’ll just boil the food and it won’t crisp up properly. No one wants soggy chips (apart from my 11-year-old son. Weird kid). Sometimes I wouldn’t finish the meal and would get a doggy bag for the next day – and that’s when this burger was born. Let’s do this!
Fish & Chips Burger
Makes 4 burgers
3 or 4 baking potatoes (you’ll only need 2 for the burgers but make extra to nibble on the side)
vegetable oil, for deep-fat frying (at least 2 litres)
4 portions of white fish fillet (cod/haddock/coley/plaice all work well but my fave is haddock – make each portion a bit bigger than your bun)
4 soft white buns
sea salt and black pepper
For the batter
200g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
For the mushy peas
1 x 300g tin marrowfat peas
For the tartare sauce
1 gherkin, finely chopped
1 tbsp capers, finely chopped
½ tsp English mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
First, let’s get those chips rocking. The best chips come from baked potatoes. It’s pretty much like doing a twice-cooked chip! Make them the day before, as the potatoes need to cool completely before deep-frying.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Bake your potatoes for 45-60 minutes. Pull them out and let them cool. When you’re ready to fry, cut the potatoes into chip-like wedges.
Batter batter, hey BATTER! Batter up! Whisk the flour, beer and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. Or as smooth as you can – don’t worry if there are a couple of lumps.
Empty your tin of peas into a small saucepan. Add the butter and stir over a low heat on the hob (or indirect heat on the outdoor grill) for 10 minutes until mushy. Season with salt and pepper.
Mix all your tartare sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside, ready for the build.
Now for the interesting part! Pour the oil into a large deep saucepan (or you can use a deep-fat fryer) – it needs to be about half-filled.
Set it over a high heat and get that oil hot. Once the temperature reaches 180°C, you are good to fry.
Chuck some flour on a plate or chopping board and press your fish in it until it is lightly coated with flour. Now dip the fish into the batter so that it’s completely covered. Pull it out and let the excess batter drip off, then carefully slip the battered fish into the hot oil.
Leave to cook for 6-7 minutes until golden brown. Remove the fish onto a paper towel with a slotted spoon, and repeat. While your fish is resting, season with malt vinegar, salt and pepper.
When your fish is done, it’s time to batch-fry your chips. Make sure the temperature is still at 180°C, then carefully lower a handful of chips into the oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Remove and drain alongside the fish. Season with salt.
When everything is cooked, it’s time to build this next-level burger.
Slather the mushy peas on the bottom bun, top with a handful of chips, then “plaice” the fish on top. (Get it?! Plaice! Like the fish. It’s the “sole” reason to include this recipe. Oh, for “cod’s” sake. Sorry.) Spoon the tartare sauce onto the fish, then finish with the other half of the bun.
Wow! Yeah, you just did that! You made an almighty fish and chips burger. Well done, you wonderful member of Earth! Now get eating.
And save some for us!
Extracted from The Burger Book by DJ BBQ (Quadrille, approx €15). Photography © David Loftus.