It’s been two years since I started this blog, which I can’t quite believe. It’s been a labor-intensive two years but it has positively flown by. Most blogs don’t make it to their second birthday, so I’m immensely proud to have kept it up this long. So, with that in mind, I’d like to announce my retirement…I’m totally joking. This shit is just getting good, I’d be insane to leave you all. Birthdays and bad jokes aside, I really appreciate those of you who stop by to read this silly thing. I wouldn’t have made it two years without you. And by way of thanking you, I will stop patting myself on the back and get to what’s important, namely these Fish and Chip Sandwiches with Orange Fennel Slaw.
Fish and chips were my very first go-to order. Long before I discovered the charms of pho or my favorite shrimp roti, my standby was fish and chips. Every time my family went out to eat, which wasn’t very often, I ordered fish and chips. And I almost always did it out of fear. Even if I was tempted by something else on the menu, something outlandish like a hamburger, I wouldn’t order it. What if I regretted my decision? Could I actually handle the lack of tartar sauce? When would another fish and chip opportunity present itself? Who knew? To this day, if fish and chips are listed on a menu I can’t help but consider them.
I think everyone has dishes like this. You know, the dishes you can’t help but order at your favorite restaurant. You feel like you should branch out but you’re frozen by FOMO. When money and calories are on the line, all too often it makes good sense to go with what you know you like. Actually, it’s more than like, it’s an obsession. You actually have to hold yourself back from ordering the dish more than once a week…or maybe that’s just me and my local Vietnamese place. Don’t judge me!
Whatever dish this may be for you, I’m sure you’re picking up what I’m laying down. And if you are, you get how I feel about Fish and Chips. So, why sully their good name by putting them into a sandwich? Well, what’s better than one food obsession? One food obsession nestled into another food obsession. Yes, the turducken may be an example of this going horribly wrong, but these sandwiches certainly are not. These Fish and Chip Sandwiches represent everything I can’t say no to. Everything I can’t live without. The top two reasons I will always be a gluten-loving, omnivore and precisely why the paleo community will never have me. And you know what? I’m not the least bit sorry.
These Fish and Chip Sandwiches feature meaty cod pieces (tee hee) doused in a rich beer batter flavored with pickle juice and honey. Pickle juice and honey! I’m sorry to yell, but those are two very good ingredients. The fish is then fried to golden perfection and nestled into an airy kaiser bun. I didn’t make the buns, I’ve never made a kaiser bun, but I’m certain at some I will because I’m cool like that. The fish pieces are topped with crispy twice fried fries and a hearty spoonful of Orange Fennel Slaw. What’s the deal with the Orange Fennel Slaw? Well, I’m glad you asked.
The Orange Fennel Slaw bringing the noise to these Fish and Chip Sandwiches is inspired by another fennel slaw I had years ago. The year was 2012 and I was a fledgling food writer who was never hungry but always poor. You know, that classic food writer cliche. I was covering the opening of a restaurant whose name now escapes me and they gave me a shrimp po’ boy to taste. The shrimp were predictable enough, but the fennel slaw was the real deal and it always stuck with me. Today, the restaurant is long gone, but the fennel slaw has found a new life on this here sandwich.
I, of course, had no idea what the guys at the restaurant put in their fennel slaw, so I had to improvise. The dressing that adorns this Orange Fennel Slaw, offers a bit of a homage to the classic tartar sauce. It’s mayo-based, naughty I know, and flavored with malt vinegar and celery seeds. And, of course, I added garlic because I’m not a monster. It worked out remarkably well considering I was mostly riffing. Honestly, the next time I can spare the calories, I will definitely make the dressing again.
So, that’s the deal with these Fish and Chip Sandwiches with Orange Fennel Slaw. Thank you once again for supporting me and this weirdo blog for the past two years. It means so much to me! Here’s to two more!
Fish and Chip Sandwiches with Orange Fennel Slaw
- 1 large russet potato scrubbed
- 1 tablespoon + 1 1/4 teaspoons salt divided
- 1 fennel bulb shaved thin
- 1 orange cut into segments
- 2 dill pickles finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 2 tablespoons malt vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 454 g 1 lb cod fillet, cut into four peices
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons pickle juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 355 ml, 12 fl. oz bottle of beer
- 4 cups canola oil
- 4 kaiser buns
- Cut the potato into thick fries. Place the fries in a large bowl and cover with water. Add 1 tablespoon of the salt and give everything a quick stir. Set the fries aside to soak for 1 hour.
- While the fries are soaking, prepare the slaw. Place the fennel, orange segments and pickles in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine the mayo, malt vinegar, celery seed, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining salt. Pour the mayo mixture over the fennel mixture and toss to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and transfer the slaw to the refrigerator to chill until ready to use.
- Take the fries out of the water and place them on a clean, lint-free dish towel. Pat them very dry and set aside.
- Pour the canola oil in a large heavy bottom pot and place over high heat. Heat the oil to 375°F. Add the fries and fry until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the fries from oil and transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Bring the oil back up to temperature and add the fries to the oil once more. Fry until deep golden in color, about 5 more minutes, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Store the fries in a 150°F oven to keep warm until ready to use. Take the oil off the heat.
- Sift the flour and cornstarch together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the remaining salt and set aside. Crack the egg in a medium sized bowl and whisk in the pickle juice and honey.
- Begin to bring the oil back up to temperature before add the wet batter ingredients to the dry.
- Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture followed by the beer. Stir to combine until a thick, slightly lumpy batter forms.
- Once the oil returns to 375°F, dip the fish pieces in the beer batter and add them to the oil. Fry the fish until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer the fish to a plate lined with paper towel.
- Split the kaiser buns in half and top the bottom halves with a piece of fish. Place 6-7 fries on top of the fish followed by a large spoonful of the orange fennel slaw. Serve immediately with a lemon wedge and cold beer.