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Sunday, July 5

Get Your Oven Fried Cod Here

While England’s favorite meal is now purported to be curry, my favorite English supper has long been fish and chips. For years I experimented trying to replicate the crispy, puffy, golden batter that regularly encases cod or haddock in British pubs and restaurants. And while the results were pretty good, they were never good enough to share. Ultimately I concluded that unless I was willing to invest in a deep fryer and a whole lot of oil, I’d have to come up with a better idea for making fish and chips at home.
Taking a page from my Oven Fried Chicken recipe, I concluded that a similar treatment might work with well with cod and haddock. And so it does as long as you use quality breadcrumbs and fish.
I regularly make breadcrumbs from the crust and end pieces of soya and linseed brown bread. The brand I use is Vogel. When making crustless finger sandwiches, I set aside all the crust I cut off and store it in a freezer bag until needed for breadcrumbs. Then I grind the crust in a food processor or blender, in small batches for fish and chicken fingers, as well as meatloaf and for topping macaroni and cheese.
Yesterday would have been Richard's birthday. The fifth he has missed, or rather I have missed celebrating with him. I was determined to perfect this recipe as it was one of his favourites. This is a million miles away from the stogy, tasteless stuff sold in supermarkets. It’s more fun to eat fish fingers than pieces of fish because you can literally use your fingers.

What You Need to make 8 – 10 plump fingers
Breadcrumbs – 800g/28 ounces
Eggs - 4
Corn Flour – 400g/14 ounces Corn Starch
Sea Salt Flakes – 1 tbs
Chili Flakes – 1 tsp
Coarse Black Pepper – 1 tbs
Cod or Haddock Loins (skinless, boneless, center cut) About 400g/14 ounces
Rapeseed Oil – 125ml/1/2cup
Optional: Lemons and/or Limes – cut into squeezable wedges
What You Do
You’ll need several large plates and a large, shallow sided baking tray.
Heat oven to 180c/350F
I usually work with half the ingredients, replenishing with the second half as needed.
Place half the breadcrumbs on a plate.
Beat two eggs, add half the salt, chili and pepper, pour onto a second plate.
Pour out half the corn flour/corn starch onto a third plate.
Cut the cod or haddock into whatever size you like. Thicker pieces are tastier. I use scissors for this task. Set cod pieces out on fourth plate, next to the corn flour/starch.
Pour oil onto baking tray. Set aside.
Working with two or three pieces at a time, roll cod pieces in corn flour/starch. Coat thoroughly. Next roll fish in seasoned egg. Finally roll in breadcrumbs coating all sides. Place on baking tray and repeat the process until you’ve used all the fish.
Bake in the middle of hot oven about 30 minutes, turning once half way through the cooking process. Fish should be toasty on all sides. The color will depend on the kind of breadcrumbs you use.  
While fish is baking wash lemons and/or limes. Cut into wedges and set aside.

Ideas and Suggestions
I’m not a fan of tartar sauce or malt vinegar. If you are by all means enjoy it with your fish fingers.
Serve fish with fresh watercress or iceberg lettuce. Sliced tomatoes are always a welcome accompaniment.
Also excellent with homemade oven chips, potato salad or cottage cheese.
Transports well for picnics and equally tasty served at room temperature.

Lemonade, limeade, sparking grapefruit, your favorite white wine, lager or ale all go well with fish.

Lemon Meringue Pie, Lemon Curd Yogurt, Raspberry Sorbet, or a bowl of Fresh Berries with a dollop of cream make a festive finish. I also love a pot of fennel or lemon balm tea after this happy meal.