About 38 years ago (3 years before I was born) a frozen food company from Canada created a product that would revolutionise tea time in Great Britain forever. From its manufacturing site in Scarborough, McCain frozen foods began to produce the first frozen oven chips. My older brother and sisters told me of the day my dad returned from the supermarket clutching this amazing new culinary invention. From that day forward the chip pan was banished to the bin, so apart from a visit to the local chippy, I would never get to taste a proper deep fried potato.
This week I thought I’d treat myself to a deep fat fryer.
I know they conjure up visions of greasy chips, oil drenched chicken legs an dare I say it, battered Mars bars but there is so much more to deep fat frying than these gastronomic stereotypes. A scotch egg, some fresh calamari or even a a duck leg bon bon, the possibilities are endless.
To break myself in gently I thought the easiest thing to try would be the thing I’d been deprived of all my youth, a proper chip. This had to be the best chip I’d ever tasted so I began to do my research.
First of all what oil should I use? Vegetable, sunflower, rapeseed, olive the list goes on. Above anything else it was flavour I was after, I’d read that peanut oil was good for deep frying due to its high smoke point but it can impart an unpleasant flavour, so that was a no. After much reading and deliberating I’d decided on a 70% vegetable oil and 30% lard mixture. This gives you a high smoke point and a great meaty flavour from the lard. Contrary to popular believes lard is not the evil artery clogging culprit it’s made out to be. Yes it’s high in saturated fat but this has recently been proven to have no affect on the bodies cholesterol level and its also high in monounsaturated fats which aids a healthy heart.
Now to a recipe. If you’re reading my blog you’ve probably got an interest in food and if like me you enjoy wasting endless hours watching cooking programs on the TV you’ve more than likely heard of a triple cooked chip. This method was invented by Heston Blumenthal and is now widely considered to be the best method to get a crispy on the outside fluffy on the inside chip.
So that was the chips sorted but what could accompany it? A chip of this calibre deserves only the best, so it couldn’t be anything less than fillet steak with a home made peppercorn sauce.
- 3 Potatoes
- 2 Fillet Steak
- 25 g Butter
- 1 clove Garlaic
- 1 Sprig Rosemary
- 1 tsp Black pepper
- 100 ml Double cream
- 20 ml Brandy
- 1 Shallot
Peal and chop the potatoes into chips and rinse them in cold water to remove some of the starch. Place a litre of cold tap water in a large saucepan and add the potatoes. Place the pan over a medium heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the chips are almost falling apart. Remove the chips and place them on a tray with some kitchen paper to dry and then put them in the fridge for 30 mins to cool.
Heat the oil in the fryer to 130°C and fry the chips for about 4-5 mins or until a light crust forms. Again remove the chips and place them on a tray with some kitchen paper to dry and then put them in the fridge for a further 30 mins to cool.
Put a frying pan or griddle pan on a medium heat and oil and season the stakes with salt and pepper before adding to the pan. Leave the stakes to cook on one side for about 3 minutes before turning. A minute before taking the steaks out add the butter, garlic and rosemary. Using a spoon baste the steaks with the butter. When the Steaks are done remove them from the pan put them in a very low oven to rest while you finish the chips and make the Peppercorn sauce.
Heat the oil in the deep-fat fryer to 180°C and fry the chips until golden (approximately 7 minutes). Drain and sprinkle with salt.
For the Peppercorn sauce, finely chop the shallot and crush the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar. Remove the garlic and rosemary from the pan and add the shallots and saute for about 3 mins until soft. Add the peppercorns and brandy and boil for another 3 mins. Lower the heat and add the cream and any juices that have escaped from the steaks while they have been resting, then cook for a further 3 mins. Add salt to taste.
Arrange the steak and chips on the plate and garnish with salad. Pour over the peppercorn sauce or serve separately in a jug.
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