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.
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.