Fish n Chips brings me back to Oxford, England back in the mid 90’s. I had just arrived to start work for Chef Raymond Blanc , I had no money and was scared to death about starting work as I had not even met the Chef D’ Cuisine David Hawksworth in person yet and he had already screamed at me on the phone. What made things worse was mid way through David yelling at me the pay phone cut off. (no one told me I had to keep adding money to continue talking) I was able to reach David again and all he said was be waiting outside the train station, be there in 20 minutes and hung up. Sure enough David arrived 20 minutes later and picked me up. On the way back to the Manoir, David told me the good news, they were not able to find me a place to live and I would be living with him. (I was ready to turn around and fly straight back to Canada at this point) We arrived back at the Manoir and I was beat, David had some work to do so I walked around the beautiful grounds into the gardens and found a bench and fell asleep. When David woke me up he told me they found me a place to live with a single mom who had 3 boys between the ages of 8-14 and 1 block from the Le Petit Blanc (now called Brasserie Blanc) man was I relieved to hear this, LOL. I arrived at my new home and met my new family Anne Marie (may she rest in peace) Tom, Humphrey & Hugo. Anne Marie asked if I was hungry and I realized I had not eaten in some time. She asked if I liked Fish n Chips, absolutely, so we walked down to the shop and had a huge fill (and yes they did serve them in old news paper).
This was the beginning of my time in England and the start of the most amazing friendships and yes David Hawksworth and I have been friends ever since. We went through a war together along with the rest of the opening team of Le Petit Blanc but we would not change a thing if we had to do it all again.
For my recipe I went a way from the traditional preparation for chips and made Pont Neuf potatoes a French preparation named after a bridge in Paris. As for the fish, Halibut was my choice and I used a tempura style batter, for the vegetable crispy sugar snap peas with mint and to top it all off Sauce Gribiche (French version of tartar sauce)
Amy’s Wine Suggestions
There are two ways to pair wine with food, to contrast or complement. The wine should act as a seasoning to the dish, enhancing its flavors, not overpowering them. When pairing wine with Jason’s “Fish & Chips”, the two factors that came into play were the Sauce Gribiche and the texture of the tempura battered halibut. Here are three options to try at home:
Top Pick: Anything bubbly, preferably dry. Fried food and Champagne is a match made in heaven! The bubbles cleanse the palate of the fattiness from the tempura batter, leaving you salivating for more. A budget friendly option is Cava. My personal favorite is the biodynamically farmed Raventos i Blanc, which is the only producer that estate grows and bottles all of their Cava’s.
Playing it safe: Try a white wine with bright citrus aromas, such as albariño or Chablis. Instead of squeezing a lemon over the halibut, try a sip of wine for the same effect. One of my favorite albariño’s is Pazo de Señoráns, which has a briny minerality that accentuates the delicate sweet flavor of the halibut.
Off the beaten path: Try a light bodied, fruit forward red wine, such as Beaujolais or Pinot Noir. The more potent flavors of the Sauce Gribiche – dill, tarragon and Dijon mustard – are begging for a red that can stand up to them. My favorite producer of Beaujolais is Domaine Marcel Lapierre from Morgon. The 2009 vintage was Marcel’s last, but his legacy lives on through his son, Mathieu.