Name of fish most commonly used in real English Fish & Chips

Discussion in 'Recipes' started by kokopuffs, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

    Messages:
    4,333
    Likes Received:
    83
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Is it cod fish?  AND I AIN'T TALKING FISH STICKS, EITHER!
     
  2. siduri

    siduri

    Messages:
    3,599
    Likes Received:
    46
    Exp:
    At home cook
    i usually see "Plaice" recommended in recipes, but i don't know what it is or if it's really traditional. 
     
  3. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    Traditionally, cod was the fish of choice. But as cod stocks declined others have been subtituted. Pollock, for instance, is often used nowadays, as is haddock.

    Siduri: Plaice is a large flatfish, related to sole. It's a white, flaky fish, and there's no reason it shouldn't work as fish & chips, especially as it's often less expensive than the others.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2010
  4. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,783
    Likes Received:
    376
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    I don't know the answer, but I like using Halibut. 
     
  5. leeniek

    leeniek

    Messages:
    1,648
    Likes Received:
    49
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I like using Halibut as well but I have used Haddock and Basa with equal success.
     
  6. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    Leeniek, you don't find Basa too fatty for deep frying?
     
  7. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    202
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I think we covered the four most common "traditional" choices (per the OP):  Cod (of several sorts); Haddock; Halibut; and Plaice.  Cod and haddock are both roundfish, while halibut and plaice are flatfish.  Interesting, no?

    In the spirit of ecumenicism, there are a lot of fish which fry very well and go with fries, not to mention hush puppies.  But, I wouldn't call basa (a Vietnamese catfish) or any other catfish one of the "traditional English fish and chips" choices.  Basa is not too fatty for frying, IMO.  But that's just an opinion; not one I'm trying to sell; and strictly a matter of taste.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2010
  8. gypsy2727

    gypsy2727

    Messages:
    523
    Likes Received:
    18
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    HALIBUT!...Cod Fritters are nice too with Remoulade
     
  9. siduri

    siduri

    Messages:
    3,599
    Likes Received:
    46
    Exp:
    At home cook
    thanks ky. 
    I always wondered what they meant by it. 
     
  10. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    202
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I don't think you can really say any one of the big four is hugely superior to the other, the big difference is texture; other differences are more subtle.  Cod is probably the most tender, and breaks into the biggest flakes, but the most fish-like; while halibut is the firmest and sweetest.  Haddock is more like cod than halibut.  Plaice is more like halibut than cod, but perhaps the most bland. 

    As a general rule, it's probably fair to say that whatever's freshest is best.

    BTW, and FWIW, here's a link to my recipe

    Has anyone tried brining the fish as a first step? 

    BDL
     
  11. gunnar

    gunnar

    Messages:
    1,447
    Likes Received:
    47
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    heh, brining? When I was working in fish and chips we were just happy it was defrosted. Always behind or have too much on our hands. Course brining now seems like it might have been the perfect answer to keep the fish fresher for the next day. The owner down to the dishwasher didn't like the look of next day fish and the longer white fish sits in it's juices in water the worse it looks. The texture gets bad too. I wonder if a salt bath would be a good answer...?
    Also, I agree with 98% of what was said above, thus leaving such little room for argument I feel I would be nitpicking.
     
  12. maryb

    maryb

    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    181
    Exp:
    Semi pro/retired now
    Pollock has a mushy texture that I don't care for. I don't think it would be a good choice for fish and chips.
     
  13. sharonm

    sharonm

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Private Chef
    Worked for a British couple and they always used cod, but if it is firm and flaky and fresh thats your best choice... Nobodys talked about the batter tho and that is a big factor... Beer or not????  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/drinkbeer.gif  
     
  14. bughut

    bughut

    Messages:
    1,730
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    ~In general it's cod.  It has a white, flaky, very creamy taste and texure.We have to be Carefull in the UK as sources are declining at a scary rate. And we use carefully sourced cod that is not endangered.

    Haddock is the main alternative. Just as good IMO But cod is the real deal.

    halibut is expensive, and you wont find it in your local chippie.

    Pollock is to be found in frozen processed fish dishes. TV chefs are trying to push it, but it's tastless and the cynic in me thinks that someones paying them a lot of money to push it to us.

    In Charleston last year we went to Bubba Gumps and OH had fried battered fish. I cant remember what it was, but so close to haddock???
     
  15. sharonm

    sharonm

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Private Chef
     Still nobody talks about the crust.../img/vbsmilies/smilies/lever.gif
     
  16. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    202
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Originally Posted by SharonM  
    Not so dear lady, not so.

    BDL
     
  17. gunnar

    gunnar

    Messages:
    1,447
    Likes Received:
    47
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    beer...the darker the better. we got spoiled cause we would get the blowoff from all the taps at renaisance fairs. heh, the managers got a free lunch we got free flat beer.  Doesn't matter if the beer is flat it's the flavor your going for./img/vbsmilies/smilies/drinkbeer.gif
     
  18. leeniek

    leeniek

    Messages:
    1,648
    Likes Received:
    49
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Deep frying in itself is fatty, and the only thing I noticed with the basa was that it was moister (from all of its own fat I presume) than haddock or halibut would have been.  It was still good, and honestly it was the beer batter that everyone liked! 
     
  19. gonefishin

    gonefishin

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    At home cook
          In many parts of the U.S. it's so difficult to get any form of quality fish.  I often hear so many people talk poorly about cod and other fish, yet they form that opinion about the fish after eating (or cooking) those pathetic frozen fillets.  If there's a place that gets several deliveries of fresh fish a week (or daily) the drive is worth the effort for the quality you'll get.  
     
         I actually like cod a lot for a wide range of preparations, which include fish and chips.  But I like most fish...if it's prepared somewhere other than the oven.


       A question about basa.  I'm not familiar with the fish at all, but I had seen someone compare it to catfish.  I've noticed that our catfish are best eaten when they're a bit a the smaller size (1 1/4lb to 2 1/2lb).  Anything larger starts getting a bit of a gamy taste and has a ton of that yellow fat.  (to me) it really eats like a completely different fish.  

      Could the basa be the same way?


      dan
     
  20. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    Basa is a catfish, Dan, originally from Viet Nam. Near as I know, most of it still comes from there.

    In my experience, even smaller basa have those fat deposits, which is why I questioned their suitability for deep frying.

    I disagree with your opinion of frozen fish, though. For those not near coastlines, FAS fish actually is higher quality than so-called fresh---which is often four or five days old before your fishmonger even sees it. FAS fish is caught, cleaned, packaged, and flash frozen within two hours.

    More often than not, when there's a loss of quality with FAS fish it's because it was defrosted improperly.

    What I object to is the way some companies package it. The fish is in an opaque bag, with only the weight shown on the package. You open it up and there are, for instance, five irregularly shaped and sized pieces. Makes for difficult portion control.