Fish and Chips: a CardioKit recipe

...with Supreme Ultimate Mushy Peas

This is a quick one and part of our comfort foods series. We want to emphasise the point  —  a healthy diet does not need to be evangelically extreme. Our favourite comfort foods remain part of a healthy diet and can be enjoyed in a fresh, clean format. We love fish and chips  —  a quintessential British classic! At it’s heart this meal has fresh grilled fish, a large serving of green veg and a controlled portion of carbohydrate. Also, believe it or not this meal was prepared in 30 mins.

We tend to go to our local fishmonger and buy the freshest fish they have on sale that day. If you don’t like the hassle of bones, as well as filleted fish you should try whole flat fish like John Dory, Plaice and Sole  —  grilled whole the fillets simply come away from the central bone structure (super easy). Our fish was bought from our favourite Bristol fishmonger attached to the Spiny Lobster restaurant (part of Mitch Tonk’s excellent fresh seafood restaurants) —  a beautiful chunky fillet of day caught Cod with crisp skin and milky white flakes.

You will notice that each elements roughly takes up a quarter of our medium sized plate (peas marginally more). This is the key  —  you can enjoy chips but instead of a huge pile of carbohydrate-rich potato you are enjoying a modest portion (2 medium potatoes at the most). These chips are great — ‘dressed’ in olive oil they are crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle but without any excess greasiness (see technique below). They are very quick to prepare and you don’t need to go through deep frying or an elaborate ‘triple cook’ process (as made famous by Heston Blumenthal).

Finally — the vibrantly green Supreme Ultimate Mushy Peas. This is the health boosting element of this dish. You will have previously heard us praising the frozen pea which is full of cardiovascular protecting soluble fibres  —  great for cholesterol balance. Once you try these sweet, fresh and easy mushy peas we suspect it will become a regular side dish.

  • large thick fillet of Cod per person (skin on) or any fresh fish of the day
  • Maris Piper potatoes (2 medium size per person)
  • frozen peas or petit pois (handful per person)
  • garlic clove (large clove for 2 portions)
  • white onion (1/2 for 2 portions)
  • frozen or fresh mint (pinch chopped)
  • spring onions and celery (optional)
  • olive oil and knob of butter
  • salt and black pepper
  1. Preheat your grill to 220 degrees Centigrade (fan-on if option) with a large tray immediately under the heat and boil a full kettle of water.
  2. Peel the Maris Pipers and slice into chips. If you want a quick meal then cut into 0.5 cm strips but chunky wedges are good as well (take longer to cook). Now wash them in plenty of cold running water until the water goes clear  —  this indicates you have got rid of the excess starch.
  3. Place the chips in a pan. Add the garlic clove and onion (quartered) along with the kettle of water (which should be salted generously). Bring to the boil and par-cook the chips until just soft on the outside. If you have gone for the thin option then around 2 minutes will be enough.
  4. Drain or lift out the chips (with a slotted spoon) and allow to steam dry (this is important for crispiness). Save the potato cooking water with the garlic and onion. When the chips are almost dry place them on a flat surface (like a large tray or frying pan) to dry further and at this point ‘dress’ with olive oil and season.
  5. The tray under the grill should now be very hot. Throw in the dry olive oil dressed chips and give the tray a shake to spread evenly. If the chips are thin they should be perfectly crisp in around 15 – 20mins. You will need to give them a move around or shake every so often towards the end.
  6. The fish is super easy. Place skin-side up on a piece of greaseproof paper. Add a small knob of butter on the top and season both sides. Place under the hot grill —  should take around 8 – 10 mins for a thick fillet to get a crispy skin and milky soft flesh. If you are unsure you can use a Rick Stein trick  —  push a skewer or thin knife through the thickest part and gently touch the top of you lip. If it’s warm then the fish is cooked perfectly (if cold  —  needs longer and hot  —  it’s overcooked).
  7. While the fish and chips are grilling you prepare the mushy peas. Discard most of the potato cooking water apart from 2 cm. Allow this to continue to simmer with the garlic and onion (and add optional spring onions and celery stick for added flavour). This is a kind of court-bouillon (flavoured liquid). Add the frozen peas and slightly overcook so the peas are soft  —this should take around 5 – 6 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool with a pinch of fresh mint. When slightly cooled add the whole lot (including the cooking water but take out the celery if included) to a blender and pulse to a chunky mushy pea consistency. Season to taste with black pepper.
  8. If your chips cook before the fish you can place them on the shelf below while the fish remains directly under the heat.

A great comfort dish without any guilt. You will end the meal feeling happily satisfied, healthy and light. A great way to enjoy fresh fish with a veg boost.

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