Nick Cullen sings the praises of the ultimate healthy fast food

Fish and chips are undeniably a national institution and there’s nothing better or more satisfying than a ‘chippy tea’. It is comfort food at its Great British best.

Of course, the very best fish and chips should come from the seaside and few can resist the temptation when confronted with seafront chip shops but given our current restrictions maybe that’s not such a good idea.

Surprisingly, fish and chips are actually one of the healthiest fast-food choices available and contain fewer calories and less fat than other takeaways.

Fish and chips are a valuable source of protein, fibre and iron and provide a third of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

Homemade fish and chips are incredibly tasty and easy to prepare, however, you will need a deep-fat fryer for the best result. You can also fry them in a deep pan but take care to ensure the oil is the correct temperature otherwise you’ll either have soggy or burnt batter.

Most people prefer cod or haddock but you can try other varieties of white fish – ask your fishmonger to recommend something. Make sure you select the freshest fish that you can find for the best flavour.

I like to serve mine with some homemade tartare sauce and a good dose of salt and vinegar.

Fish and chips

(serves 2)

2 fillets of cod or haddock, skinned and deboned.

4 large potatoes (King Edwards or Maris Piper)

100g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

1 tbsp. bi-carb soda

Pinch of cayenne pepper

100ml sparkling water, chilled.

Tartare sauce:

100g mayonnaise

20g salad cream

50g capers

50g gherkins

½ bunch spring onions

Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer or large deep pan to 140c

To make the tartare sauce, finely chop the capers, gherkins and spring onions. Mix together with the mayonnaise and salad cream and chill in the fridge.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, bi-carb, cayenne and water to make the batter. Place in the fridge to chill.

Meanwhile, cut the washed and peeled potatoes into chips. Blanch in the fryer for 8-10 minutes until they soften and colour slightly. Remove and drain. Increase the heat of the fryer to 180c.

Dust the fish fillets in flour and dip into the batter, coating thoroughly. Carefully place into the fryer and cook for 6-8 minutes (depending on size), or until the batter has become golden and crispy.

Remove the fish and drain. Re-add the chips to the fryer, and cook for a few minutes until golden. Season and serve immediately with a good dollop of tartare sauce.