How to make Fish & Chips the Queen’s way with panko – ‘a more refined fish and chips’
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According to a former royal chef, Darren McGrady, who worked at Buckingham Palace between 1982 and 1993, the Queen would not have her cod covered in beer batter like many Britons enjoy from their local fish and chips shop. Instead, she would enjoy her fish covered in a light panko breadcrumb coating, with perfectly cut rectangular chips, and some hollandaise sauce. As opposed to the staff who would be served beer-battered fish, mushy peas, some brown sauce and salad cream, the Queen’s dish would be much more European in style. On the Buckingham Palace menu, Fish and Chips were referred to as ‘Cabillaud Pommes Pont Neuf’ in French for Her Majesty The Queen. Darren explained in a YouTube video: “The Queen wouldn’t really eat the fish fried in all that crispy rich batter. It was a little bit too much for her.
“She preferred a more refined fish and chips. The chips were all cut the same length, in perfect rectangles.
“I’ve taken these chips and I’ve blanched them and they’re ready to drop in the nice hot fryer at 190 Celsius to come out super crispy once we’ve cooked the fish.
“When we were making the fish we actually did a panko bread crusting instead,” Darren explained.
“We’d take the fish and season with some salt and pepper, and it would go into the flour and then into a mixture of egg yolk and melted butter.
“The egg yolk helped bind the panko crumbs to the fish and then the butter helped fry the fish as it cooked in the oven.”
To preheat the oven, Darren suggested turning it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and then the fish will go into the flour.
After that, the fish can be placed into the egg yolks and melted butter, before finally into the panko for a light coating.
Darren continued: “Once that’s coated, we put it onto a little baking tray, and it goes in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes until it’s nice and crispy.
“While the fish is cooking, I’m going to make the sauce. When we served this to the Queen, we did a tarragon hollandaise, and with hollandaise, you start with egg yolks and whisk them up.
“We had some lemon juice, tarragon, salt, pepper, and, of course, clarified butter.
“Once you’ve mixed the egg yolks together you put them over the heat over a bowl of hot water and we whisk them until they start to warm up, and what we call break.
“Then I’ve taken my butter, heated it up, and drained the way off (that’s the white stuff at the bottom),” Darren explained.
“Once I’ve got my egg yolks hot I can then start slowly adding the butter. Add it slowly because otherwise, it will split.
“As it starts to thicken you can add a little of the lemon juice and then more of the butter.
“Once the butter is in and I’ve got a really nice thick creamy sauce I can add my tarragon and salt and pepper.
“I keep that somewhere warm and when the fish comes out, we’ll drop the chips into the fryer, get them nice and crispy and then we’re ready to serve.
“So my sauce is made and the fish is almost cooked – now we just drop the chips into the fryer,” the chef said.
“The chips have been in the fryer for about four or five minutes and have gone super crispy and nice and golden brown – now I’m just going to drain them off onto some paper towels.
“Again, a little sprinkle of salt while they’re still hot. Next, we’ll take out the fish – the butter and the egg yolk made it go a nice golden brown.
“So carefully we can lift this off onto the plate, and then we had the chips which are special chips so we have to build a little tower.
“Finally our tarragon hollandaise sauce and a pretty little flower for decoration.
“At the Palace, the menus will be written in French so this will be ‘Cabillaud Pommes Pont Neuf’.
“Does the queen eat fish and chips? Sort of I guess.
“I love the combination of the flavours – we served this a lot when the Queen had guests for lunch.
“The gorgeous tender flaky fish in their beautiful cod and those crispy crumbs on the outside – absolutely gorgeous.
“But I still think it needs salad cream,” Darren joked at the end.
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