I added titles. Seemed like a good idea. The biggest hit in terms of cooking was on last Friday when I made an impulse purchase – sand dabs – and decided to surprise the kids with homemade fish and chips. It was a big success. I got told that it was the best meal I had ever made them(!). On to the details…

Fried Sand Dabs

It isn’t worth filleting most sand dabs – they are basically a very small flounder relative from the Pacific and you lose too much flesh if you fillet them. So I washed them and left them to sit in a little lemon juice (I had four of them – about a half pound each). Then I heated about half an inch of olive oil in a cast iron frying pan until it was just beginning to get smoky. In the meantime I made a flour dredging mixture of about a cup of plain flour, a tablespoon of salt, a teaspoon of pepper and sundry fish herbs and seaweed flakes (Ok, OK – thyme, parsley, seaweed flakes and garlic) – total about 3/4 of a teaspoon. Mix it all up and then drag each fillet carefully through it so it is well coated. Drop them into the pan and leave for three minutes or so until clearly starting to turn brown on the downward side. Flip and cook again – three minutes or so until just starting to turn brown. Serve with wedges of lemon and either peas or salad. And of course,

French Fries

Slice up about a pound and a half of potatoes and then cut the other way lengthways to make a big pile of shoestring potatoes. Put them in a bowl of water to soak and heat up a frying pan with about 2/3 of an inch of a even mixture of olive oil and vegetable shortening (palm oil in my case). Let that get hot almost to smoking. Dry the potatoes off on several kitchen towels and fry rapidly in batches stirring frequently. You’ll probably need six batches for all the potatoes and cook them until they just barely show any brown color. In the meantime get a couple of cookie sheets ready and heat the oven to 350 degrees. As the potatoes come out spread them out on the cookie sheets and put them in the oven. Let the last batch of potatoes cook a little longer until clearly starting to go brown. Add them to the rest of the fries that you remove from the oven. Salt to taste and serve with lemon, vinegar and/or ketchup.

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