Thursday, 12 February 2009

Beer-battered haddock with oven chips

You knew it had to happen sooner or later! Because I love to take care of you all, I've avoided traditionally deep-frying anything in this recipe; that's not to say it's a leafy green salad but still, it's a bit healthier, and it tastes great! You could use pollack, haddock, skate or of course cod instead if you wish. Chip shops here generally serve very large portions so feel free to have just half a haddock fillet if you have a smaller appetite! The beer batter is lovely and crispy, while the fish inside is still soft and delicate.

This will serve four people and takes about 45 minutes at the most (including preparation). If you're really pressed for time you could deep-fry the chips, in which case it will take only a few minutes, but I suggest you don't. Bear in mind that supermarket-bought oven chips will take about the same length of time to cook and not taste anywhere near as good. As for supermarket-bought haddock fillets, well, they take about 30 minutes in the oven whereas doing it from scratch takes 4, so don't buy them unless you're trying to punish yourself for some sin committed in a past life.


  • 4 boneless haddock fillets
  • 250ml good beer
  • 250g plain flour
  • About four large potatoes
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Groundnut oil
  • Parsley to garnish
  • 1 Lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 210 degrees.
  2. Peel the potatoes and chop them into eight evenly sized chips. Put them in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for no more than five minutes, then turn off the heat, drain the water and put them back on the ring for a minute to allow the remaining moisture to evaporate (if you have a gas cooker, put the heat on the lowest setting for this as they cool down more quickly).
  3. Put the chips into a roasting tin; if any are stuck, carefully dislodge them with a fish slice. Drizzle them generously with groundnut oil and put them in the oven for half an hour.
  4. Heat about 4 tbsps groundnut oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. In the meantime, sieve the flour into a bowl and mix in some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Make a well in the centre and pour in the beer, a little at a time. Keep whisking until you have a smooth batter. Coat the haddock fillets in the batter and fry in the pan (skin-side down first) for about 2 minutes on each side; you may have to do this in batches.
  5. Serve with a lemon wedge and a generous spoonful of tartare sauce for each person, with malt vinegar, salt and tomato ketchup on the side.

NOTE: Some people like to put breadcrumbs in the batter, along with herbs or even a bit of mustard. Experiment and see what you like!

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