Chosen Bites: Anticipation is over and success is yours

Crispy, crunchy and delicious, fish and chips combined with sweet, nutty black garlic are a perfect Hanukka meal.

Black Garic (photo credit: Laura Frankel)
Black Garic
(photo credit: Laura Frankel)
Once the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes have been put away, belt loops loosened from that plate of seconds and grandma’s favorite platter and gravy boat are put away, the anticipation is over and success is yours. Many will chalk it up to another holiday come and gone. But, wait, it is still Hanukka. Who says the party is over? We’ve got lots more holiday to go and we need to make the most of it.
I love sitting under the glow of the flickering Hanukia and scoffing down crunchy-munchy fried things. Delish right? This year I am going to get playful with a trusty condiment for my fish and chips and experiment with black garlic.
Black garlic is a type of caramelized garlic used as a food ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic over the course of several weeks, a process that results in black cloves. The taste is sweet and syrupy with hints of balsamic vinegar or even tamarind. Kosher black garlic can easily be found online, in gourmet stores and many supermarkets.
Chag Hanukka Sameah!
Once a year I make fish and chips; okay, maybe two or three times a year. Crispy, crunchy and delicious, fish and chips are a perfect Hanukka meal.
This year I am recreating tartare sauce and using one of my new favorite ingredients, black garlic. Black garlic is sweet, nutty and tangy all at once. The complex flavors make an interesting sauce for the delicate fish batter.
The fish is coated in my tempura batter. I use a combination of rice flour, cornstarch and all-purpose flour. To give my batter more crunch and “hang time” (the amount of time the batter will remain crunchy once removed from the oil) I use baking powder and soda water. The batter can be used to fry vegetables, fish, cut up chicken or your favorite fry-ables.
Serves 5
For the fish batter
¼ cup rice flour¼ cup cornstarch2 cups all-purpose flour1 tablespoon baking powder2 teaspoons kosher salt1 teaspoon cayenne3 ½ cups club soda
For the fish
2 pounds halibut or cod, cut into large pieces (about 2-3 inches each)Kosher salt and pepper3 cups neutral flavored- high temperature oil (I use mild extra virgin oil, canola oil or peanut oil)
1. Place some ice with a small amount of water in a large bowl. Place a smaller bowl in the ice water and whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the club soda and whisk until no lumps remain. The batter can be whisked together and held for 2 hour before using.
2. Pat dry the fish. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy gauge saucepan until a thermometer registers 182 C or a drop of batter added to the oil floats and starts to fry. 3. In batches, dip the fish in the batter and add it slowly to the oil. Fry only a few pieces at a time to avoid over loading the pan and cooling the oil too much.
4. When the fish is golden brown all over, transfer the fish to a paper towel lined sheet pan. Continue until all the fish is coated and fried.
5. The fish is best served hot right out of the oil. But to reheat for a crowd: heat the oven to 204 C and heat the fish for a few minutes. Serve with black garlic aioli
For the aioli
2 heads black garlic, peeled and the garlic squeezed out1 cup mayonnaise 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar ½ teaspoon Harissa or favorite hot sauce1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice Kosher salt and pepper
1. Place all the ingredients for the aioli in a food processor and pulse until combined.For the chips
I am roasting my chips this year and have assuaged my guilt of eight nights of frying with the addition of healthy root vegetables. Delicious and healthy.
Preheat oven to 176 C
2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cut into2 inch planks2 large parsnips peeled and cut into2 inch planks2 large carrots peeled and cut into2 inch planks1 large red beet peeled and cut into2 inch planks1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil Kosher salt and pepper
Line a sheet pan or jelly roll pan with parchment paper
1. Toss the vegetables with oil and salt and pepper. Scatter the vegetables on the lined pan and roast until golden brown and caramelized. Serve with black garlic aioli and crispy fish.
Chef Laura Frankel is Executive Chef for Spertus Kosher Catering and author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons, and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes.