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OPINION (YOURS!): The Best Fish For Fish 'N Chips....

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OPINION (YOURS!): The Best Fish For Fish 'N Chips....

11Chowit | Jun 3, 2017 03:07 AM

Lots of interesting comments on this topic were posted on a similarly named post here on Chowhound a couple of years ago. I'm reviving the discussion here.
In reading through the old post, what seems fascinating to me is that, mostly, EVERYBODY WHO HAS AN OPINION IS RIGHT!.....

This is a "Whatever's in the eye of the beholder IS REALITY........THE END." kind of topic.

It is also one that both myself and my own brother disagree on--and since he's not here to defend his precious cod, I get to tell the world that I think that FRESH--and I do mean CAUGHT-THAT-DAY-FRESH ALASKAN HALIBUT IS ABSOLUTELY ONE OF THE BEST, MOST EXQUISITE FISH ONE COULD POSSIBLY EVER USE FOR FISH AND CHIPS--OR FOR JUST ABOUT ANY OTHER GOOD WAY OF PREPARING IT.
(A FEW YEARS BACK, I WOOD-SMOKE BARBECUED A 32-OZ. SLAB OF IT ON THE GRILL, THINKING THAT I WOULD GET ABOUT THREE MEALS OUT OF IT, AND IT WAS SO INCREDIBLY, INTOXICATINGLY DELICIOUS BEYOND DESCRIPTION, THAT I COULDN'T RESIST GORGING MYSELF ON IT, AND I ATE THE ENTIRE SLAB IN ONE SITTING.)
My brother has been to the UK, and he'll prattle on and on about how that part of the world is where it all began, and how the traditional fish for Fish 'N Chips is cold water North Atlantic cod.....And then he tries to convince me that using malt vinegar is the only acceptable dressing, and that using tartar sauce or other dressings on Fish 'N Chips pretty much constitutes blasphemy, blah, blah, blah.
You know what, my brother's opinion about which fish makes the best Fish 'N Chips is absolutely correct
--FOR MY BROTHER.

NOT FOR ME.

Not that I have anything against the fresh cold water Northern Atlantic cod, mind you.

My brother is not a fisherman, by the way.
I AM.
The only thing my brother is likely to catch if he has to rely on his fishing skills is a cold.
I live on the West Coast, and I've caught all kinds of different fish (of the species that we catch out here, that is--and yes, caught-that-day WILD King {Chinook} Salmon is also absolutely exquisite as fish and chips, and can be similarly barbecued, and is absolutely world-class fantastic smoked. But I digress.....
The topic here is: What fish makes the best Fish 'N Chips?)
Actually, one could tout the virtues of many different fishes--and without a doubt, I'm sure I haven't even tried some of the awesome species that are out there, some of which would probably fit right into this discussion. I believe that the vast majority of all people haven't, actually. So, I can only divulge what I DO know about certain different fishes--and what I do know is that there are some TOTALLY KILLER FISHES out there for making Fish N' Chips.......
Surely, the Northern Atlantic cod is on this list. I'm not disputing that. I haven't seen much in the way of FRESH Northern Atlantic cod in the markets where I live, though. I've caught plenty of Pacific cod, and it's not the same. The cod we have around here, while decent enough for the frying pan when fresh is in no way part of this discussion about what fish makes the best Fish 'N Chips. Sorry, but IMHO, NONE of the Pacific cod species are even part of the discussion, CASE CLOSED. So, I'm thinking that making the distinction about the fresh wild Northern Atlantic cod, and the cod species we have in the Pacific is a distinction worthy of making, and I relinquish that end of the discussion to those who are expert enough to comment about ALL cod species from different oceans of the world, and just how good they are or aren't when dipped in batter and deep-fried.

Some things that I think ARE relevant to the discussion: Freshness, region (which usually dictates exactly what kinds of REALLY FRESH FISH you might have access to, if any), recipe (Just how are you preparing YOUR fish and chips?....) skillful preparation; these are all hugely important factors which will determine just how delectable the end result of your fish and chips will (or won't) be.
Again, I say that top-notch FRESH Alaskan halibut (not to be confused with the so-called "California halibut", which I think is sometimes also labeled "Pacific halibut" when you see it for sale at the markets, and which is inferior to Alaskan halibut in flavor and texture, etc, in my opinion) is pretty damned unbeatable (of all the fish I've ever tried) in fish and chips. I don't agree with those who say that it's a waste of good halibut; surely, those poor unfortunate souls have never tasted those ethereal mouthfuls of pure beer-battered halibut joy that I have, or they'd be singing a different tune......All I can say to them is, "If you had ever enjoyed some halibut Fish N' Chips to the extent that I have in the past, there would be no talk about any of it being a waste--and trust me, none of it WOULD get wasted, as long as there were any fish-loving hungry mouths around." The deep-fried beer batter IS INDEED an excellent way to have the fresh halibut, and there are of course, many other great ways to have it, as well.
"REALLY FRESH" means not only caught that day, but it's also something that shows up in one's experience of the quality of the fish on all levels; with the Alaskan halibut it translates to nice, tight, (as opposed to loose and flaky) chunks of pure, savory, snow white goodness, which are still perfectly moist and tender after cooking at the correct temperature for the appropriate length of time, and devoid of any unpleasant flavors......
Now, to those who lament the cost of fresh wild-caught fish these days, well, I understand; I respect the value of a dollar, but when it comes to ANY top-notch seafood delicacy, I'm ready to shell out (no pun intended--but I'll take it, anyway) --so cost is almost no object for me. If it's something that's outrageously expensive, I might just have it less often--but I'll still have it, if and when I can. Granted, fish prices have shot way the hell up in recent years--which makes finding only the best possible quality even more important. Okay, this is getting long. Please feel free to opine yourself, and I'll re-visit the discussion later for comments!

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