There’s a quote from the great Rick Stein that we’ve written on the blog before, that goes along the lines of “the best seasoning is fresh air”. We couldn’t agree more. Though we’re lucky to live along Ireland’s eastern seaboard, hugging the Irish Sea, the coast is a fifteen minute drive from us and Ireland doesn’t have that fish and chip shop by-the-beach culture like we experienced on our day-trips to Brighton et al when we lived in the UK. What we do have here in Éire, though, is incredible seafood. Our local fishmongers, Fisherman’s Catch in Clogherhead and Kirwan’s Fish Cart in Drogheda, are both renowned for their fresh catch.
We stopped by the former recently as we had a serious craving for Sole à la Meunière (our recipe here) and we picked up twice as much lemon sole as we needed. Stumped with how to make it go further in an inventive way, thoughts turned to frying and soon we were set on having goujons. Simple, satisfying, sensational. But we wanted to elevate it a little bit. You know we love coating things in crisps, so we thought: why don’t we use salt and vinegar crisps as the coating? Turns out… it’s a flavour revelation. We might not live right beside the seaside, but we can absolutely recreate that fresh, salty sea air seasoning with a pang of salt and vinegar. You need to try this.
Tayto-Coated Fish Goujons with Homemade Tartare Sauce
For the fish
- Two fillets of flat fish (sole/plaice/dab/flounder or another flat fish – ask your fishmonger what’s best, in season and to fillet for you), then sliced into strips – you should get about 10 or 12 from two fillets
- Two packets of Tayto Salt & Vinegar (or your equivalent salt and finger potato crisps)
- A handful of matzo meal (or dried breadcrumbs if you don’t have any)
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 egg, whisked with a couple of drops of milk to thin
- 150-200ml vegetable oil
For the tartare sauce
- 2 tbsp high-quality mayonnaise (we like Heinz)
- 8-10 capers, finely chopped,
- A couple of pickles or gherkins, homemade or bought, finely diced
- 1/4 of a small lemon, juice
- Freshly-cracked black (or white) pepper
1. First, make the crumb by blitzing the crisps in a food processor until as fine as they will go, like fine-textured panko breadcrumbs. Thin out with the matzo meal and spread out on a plate. If you don’t have a processor, you can bash with a rolling pin in a freezer bag, taking care to get it as fine and even as possible.
2. Next, dry the fish, slice into skinny lengths and coat in the flour. Then, dip in eggwash and roll in the Tayto mixture.
3. Heat your oil to medium-low (we used the ‘3’ setting our our 10-setting induction hob, for comparison) in a small frying pan and give a few minutes to get hot. Use a bit of stale bread to test the oil’s heat – it will gently sizzle around the sides. Fry each goujon for about a minute, flipping over and frying on the other side for about 30-45 seconds more. Keep your phone with a timer close so you can judge the timing – you want it to be a light golden colour, but don’t want the fish inside to be overcooked and dry. Regulate the heat, increasing it and decreasing it slightly if necessary.
4. Fry the goujons in batches, decanting onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
5. For the tartare, mix the mayo with the pickles, capers and lemon juice. Taste, add pepper as necessary, taste again. Make it as sharp as you personally like.
6. Serve the fish goujons with a generous dollop of the tartare sauce each and a wedge of lemon. Naturally, these go well with chips too!
Drinks pairing: Works exceptionally well with a craft Amber Ale, like Jack Codys‘ Amber Ale, which brings it all together in a mouthful of sweet, creamy maltiness.