I’ve never brined a protein before – and after this recipe, I’m regretting not experimenting with brining sooner.
I’ve only heard the pros of the brining method, mostly from people who regularly brine their Thanksgiving turkeys. Perfumes meat with desired flavors. Keeps meat juicy and tenderized. Imparts perfect level of saltiness.
All of these held true for the brine I soaked the cod in for these fish and chips. Except I didn’t use anything elegant along the lines of an orange peel, thyme and cardamom-infused brine. Although that sounds like a good idea.
I used dill pickle juice.
Being careful to keep the cod’s dignity intact, the brine used wasn’t the Yellow 5-dyed stuff from a jar, but leftover from the dill pickles I made a few weeks back (brining liquid instructions per that recipe, excluding the hot peppers).
With time to spare before subjecting my stovetop to yet another splattering frying session, I threw the cod in the pickle juice and allowed it to soak for a few hours.
It wasn’t the pickles that you tasted in the fish meat – I primarily tasted the garlic. Remember, the tartar sauce has a pickle thing going on already, so you are getting a double pickle hit. I welcome this with open arms.
Is it just me, or are fish and chips that much better when you’re holding the scalding hot pieces of fish in a flimsy, poorly-executed paper cone while the grease drips onto your shirt and pants? While there are plates, forks and knives in your kitchen that you could use?
Infinitely better tasting, is where I was going with that. I don’t know why that is.
I N G R E D I E N T S
F o r t h e B r i n e
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 4 cups water
- Approximately 10 cloves garlic, smashed & skins removed
- Approximately 20 stems fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
F o r t h e T a r t a r S a u c e
- 1 / 3 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 dill pickle spear, minced
- 2 tablespoons white onion, minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced
- 1 / 4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- Pinch of sugar
F o r t h e F i s h
- 4 to 6 4 oz. pieces fresh cod fillet
- Vegetable oil, as needed for frying
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
F o r t h e C h i p s
- 2 russet potatoes
- 2 stems thyme, leaves removed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt, as needed
- Pepper, as needed
- Olive oil, as needed
D I R E C T I O N S
- Heat the water, vinegar, salt and sugar on the stovetop until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the peppercorns, dill and garlic and allow to cool to room temperature. Once room temperature, place the cod in the brining liquid, leaving in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours to soak.
- Preheat the oven to 375*.
- Cut the potatoes into spears, and place on a sheet pan. Toss with a coating of olive oil, a large pinch of salt, a large pinch of pepper, the thyme and the minced garlic. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and tender, tossing once to maintain even cooking.
- Combine the tartar sauce ingredients. Set in the fridge to chill while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Combine the flour, garlic powder, and black pepper. Toss the cod fillets in the flour, then back into the brine, then back into the flour mixture, setting the pieces of fish on a clean plate.
- In the meantime, heat vegetable oil in a skillet so there are 1 1 / 2 to 2 inches of oil in the pan. Once frying temperature (test oil with a pinch of flour to see if it starts to sizzle), place the cod in the oil, waiting to flip the fish only after the underside is a golden brown.
- Serve the fish and chips hot, in rolled newspaper or parchment paper, if desired, along with the tartar sauce.