As Whovians everywhere gear up for the Doctor Who premiere on Saturday, I decided to create a few recipes for the occasion. The first recipe is for what has become the quintessential Whovian recipe, fish fingers and custard. Inspired by the eleventh doctor’s bizarre taste in snacks, there are several versions of this recipe on the Internet ranging from sweet interpretations to Alton Brown’s unflinchingly accurate version complete with homemade minced fish fingers. This version involves two of my favorite pairings, fish and chips and french fries and aioli. In my version, I have made battered cod tenders, double-fried french fries, and a lemon-garlic aioli “custard”.
To make this meal, you will need…
3 cups white rice flour
2 bottles of blonde beer
2 tbsp, plus 1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp, plus 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp, plus 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 lbs russet potatoes
2 lbs cod fillets
3 pasteurized eggs, plus 1 pasteurized egg yolk
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp ground cayenne
1 gallon of peanut oil, for frying
Start by making the aioli. Actually, let’s pause and have a conversation about raw eggs and salmonella. I am not a medical professional. I am just someone who loves to cook. There are serious health risks associated with consuming raw eggs (i.e., salmonella poisoning). Using pasteurized eggs reduces the risk, but it does not eliminate it. I have decided that I am personally comfortable with the risk. That does not mean you should be. I am a random person on the Internet. Take my opinion with a grain of salt. I encourage you to do your own research and make a decision for yourself and your family. Here is a helpful place to start. However, I would not recommend this recipe for children, the elderly, or someone with an otherwise weak immune system, as these groups are in the most danger in the event of salmonella contamination.
If you are cooking for one of these groups or are just not comfortable consuming raw eggs, you can still have an awesome custard dipping sauce. To make a raw egg free version, mix together 1 cup of regular store-bought mayo, the juice and zest of one lemon, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp cayenne, and a few pinches of turmeric or a few drops of yellow food coloring (to mimic the color of the egg yolk). To make the original recipe, combine 2 whole eggs, 1 egg yolk, the juice and zest of one lemon, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1/8 tsp cayenne in a blender or food processor. Turn on the blender or food processor on low. While the machine is running, pour the olive oil in slowly into the open top.
The aioli will be ready when it is the consistency of mayo. This should happen pretty quickly. Spoon the aioli into a bowl, cover, and place the aioli in the fridge to chill.
Now, you’re ready to prep your potatoes. Scrub the potatoes, slice them into strips, and place the strips in a large bowl of heavily salted water.
Once you’ve got your potatoes prepped, heat the oil in a large pot and prep the batter for the fish. In a large bowl, combine the rice flour, beer, 1 egg, 2 tbsp of salt, 1 tbsp of pepper, 1 tbsp of garlic powder, and the zest from one lemon. Leave the batter to rest. The oil should be ready by now. Check the oil by carefully dropping a pinch of salt into the oil. If the oil immediately bubbles when the salt hits it, then the oil is ready. While the batter is resting, blanch the fries in the oil (first fry). While you clearly will not need a deep-fryer for this step, I highly recommend a metal spider tool over a slotted spoon for placing food in the oil and taking it out of the oil. You can get these from Williams-Sonoma or Amazon for under $10.00. As always, use extreme caution around hot oil.
You don’t want to completely cook the fries at this stage. The fries will be done when they have begun to look puffy. When they reach this stage, scoop them out with the spider or a metal slotted spoon and place the blanched fries on a sheet pan lined with paper towels. Cover with the blanched potatoes with more paper towels and put them aside.
Once the fish is ready, return the potatoes to the oil in batches to crisp them. As you remove the fries after their second fry, season them with salt (and other spices, if desired). Once your fries are ready, everything is ready to serve.
Coming Soon: A Jammie Dodger™-Inspired Tart for Dessert!