Though it originated in British restaurants called chip shops, or “chippies,” fish and chips are very familiar comfort food. In our lighter take on the classic dish, thick potato wedges are tossed in smoky-sweet Old Bay and baked, rather than deep-fried. Homemade tartar sauce gets brininess from cornichons, capers, and mustard. In place of the usual tangy malt vinegar, a simple squeeze of lemon adds a final bright touch.
1 lemon, divided
½ tablespoon capers
¼ ounce chives
2 russet potatoes
½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
¼ cup flour
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
10 ounces tilapia
½ tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 ounces mayonnaise
3 tablespoons canola oil
1½ tablespoons olive oil
12″ large nonstick pan
Prefer thinner fries over thick wedges? After halving potatoes, cut them lengthwise into ¼-inch slices, then cut lengthwise again into ¼-inch fries. Bake 20-25 minutes.
Arranging your potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet and spacing them apart as much as possible will help them crisp.
Your tilapia is finished cooking when a thin knife inserted into the fish meets no resistance.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Halve lemon. Finely chop cornichons and capers. Rinse chives and thinly slice. Rinse potatoes, halve lengthwise, and arrange cut-side down on cutting board. Then, cut each half lengthwise into 6 equal wedges, and transfer to a baking sheet (see Recipe Tip).
Toss potato wedges on baking sheet with 1½ tablespoons olive oil, Old Bay seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Arrange in a single layer and bake until crisp and tender, about 25 minutes (see Recipe Tip).
While chips bake, place flour on a large plate and season with ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. In a large shallow bowl, whisk 1 egg. Place breadcrumbs on a separate large plate. Pat tilapia dry with paper towel and season all over with ½ teaspoon salt. Dredge tilapia in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge in breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere.
Heat 3 tablespoons canola oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add tilapia and fry until crust is golden brown and fish is cooked through and opaque, 3-5 minutes per side (see Recipe Tip). Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
While fish cooks, in a small bowl, stir together mustard, mayonnaise, juice of ½ lemon, cornichons, capers, ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired until combined. Cut remaining lemon into wedges for squeezing over the final plate.
Divide fish and chips between serving plates, and garnish fries with chives. Enjoy with a squeeze of lemon and tartar sauce for dipping. Frothy pint of ale optional!