Inspired by the steamed whole fish with mayo and potato wedges that my mother used to cook (the only dish she did rather well), the version with fried fish is in deference to Speedy who can’t appreciate fish unless it’s fried and crispy. I have to admit that fried fish and potatoes work better with the sauce as the frying creates a more robust texture overall.
The procedure for making this dish consists of three parts:
1. Making the no-cook garlic-lemon mayo sauce;
2. Frying the fish and potatoes; and
3. Assembling the dish.
You can use a whole fish, fish steaks or fillets. Whichever cut you choose, remember to rub with salt and pepper at least 30 minutes before frying. If using fillets, I suggest coating them in batter before frying, something similar to how Speedy cooked his beer-battered fish and chips.
The following recipe is for a whole fish.
Fish and fries with garlic-lemon mayo sauce
- 1 whole fish about 700 grams, gutted and scaled
- 1/3 cup plain mayonnaise
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or lime or kalamansi juice
- cooking oil for deep frying
- 1 large potato cut into fingers
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Score the fish and rub inside and out with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Make the sauce. Place the mayo in a bowl. Grate the garlic cloves directly over the bowl. Add about 4 tablespoonfuls of hot water. Whisk the mixture until smooth (use a wire whisk to make sure there are no lumps). The sauce should be pourable but still fairly thick. If still too thick at this point, add more hot water, 1 tablespoonful at a time, to thin it out. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Set aside.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok frying pan. You're deep frying so make sure that you have plenty of cooking oil. How much exactly depends on the size and shape of your pan.
- Fry the potato fingers until browned and crisp. Scoop out and transfer to a bowl.
- Dredge the fish in cornstarch. Shake to remove any excess. You want a very thin coating just to minimize oil spatter.
- Fry the fish on until browned and crisp on the outside. Flip to cook evenly.
- Place the cooked fish on a serving plate. Top and surround with the fries. Pour the sauce over the fish and fries. Sprinkle with chopped parsley (optional). Serve hot with rice.