We leafed through the pages of Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food to figure this out. It took us about an hour. Fish and Chips and Tartar Sauce. All from scratch. And we mean scratch. We even made a basic mayonnaise. We kid you not.
We should say at this point that we ignored the first and probably most important rule about deep-frying: do this outside. Our house intensely smelled like a fast food joint for a good day or so. Also, what is one to do with all that frying oil afterwards? We'll take any good suggestions.
Next we made mayonnaise. We whisked up 2 egg yokes and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and then slowly added 1 and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Drip by drip, continuously whisking. It took a good 15 minutes or so. At the end we added 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar to loosen it up and adjust the taste. Lastly we added a little salt. We think that the taste of the olive oil was most prominent and that using a especially smooth and tasty one would be worthwhile.
We took half of the mayonnaise and turned it into a tartar sauce. We finely chopped up 1 tablespoon of capers, 5 baby cornichons, 2 anchovies, leaves of 6 parsley sprigs, and the zest of 1 lemon. It all got mixed into the mayonnaise. We stuck our fingers into it and added lemon juice and salt till we liked the taste.
Next we cut 2 pounds of potatoes into sticks, keeping the skin on for the "Chips".
We put a pot onto the stove and emptied a bottle of sunflower oil into it. I am sure we'll try out different kinds of oil in the future. We got it to a medium heat to parboil the potatoes for about eight minutes or so.
We retrieved them from the oil with a slotted spoon and then really cranked up the heat.
Now we prepared the batter for the final act. We mixed a 3/4 cup of flour with 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder and a good portion of an Indian Pale Ale until we had a smooth but gooey batter. In a separate bowl we put more flour. Now we dragged the fish cuts through the flour, shaking off any lose dust, and into the batter, slathering them well, without any dripping.
Now we dunked 3 to 4 pieces and a handful chips into the raging oil, one portion at a time, serving them piecemeal. Each time we fished the potatoes out first and tapped them dry with a towel. We simply watched them turn the right color to time the right extraction point. Next came the fish.
We served them as you should. In newspaper. We made sure to use the day's print for extra freshness. That way you get food and something new to read while you wait for more. Oooooooh yummy. A good and greasy scrumptiousness!