On a trip to Nova Scotia, I was impressed with the creative force of the chefs, with their dedication to local ingredients and with the sensational recipes they prepared.
Chester-born Michael Howell is a favourite homegrown chef. His restaurant, Tempest in Wolfville, N.S., is one of the best in the province. His fried fish is lightly battered and nicely crispy: Howell uses haddock, the most popular fish in the area.
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The sparkling water in his recipe must be as cold as possible to keep the batter light and prevent it from absorbing too much oil. Place in a hot oven for a couple of minutes to reheat.
Vegetable oil for deep frying
2 pounds (1 kilogram) haddock fillets, cut into about 3-inch chunks
1 large egg
1 cup cold sparkling water or club soda
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Sea salt to taste
1 lemon, sliced
Heat oil in a deep heavy pot or wok to 350 F.
Beat egg in a bowl and add cold water. Lightly mix in flour with a fork and beat gently. Don't worry too much about lumps. Dip the fish pieces into the batter and allow most of it to come off. Only a thin layer of batter should remain on the fish. Working in batches, place a few pieces of fish in the oil carefully and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Remove fish from oil with a slotted spoon and gently shake off any excess oil.
Place on a tray lined with paper towel, sprinkle with sea salt and lemon.