Good morning from Rhode Island, USA

Fish and chips is a beloved and iconic dish that originated in England and has since gained popularity in New England. It may have a historical connection to the post-potato famine in Ireland in 1840. This classic combination of battered and fried fish served with crispy, golden-brown potato chips has become a staple of the region’s culinary landscape, offering comfort and nostalgia that transcends generations.


In New England, particularly in coastal areas such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine, fish and chips can be found in numerous seafood, clam, and local eateries. These establishments take pride in using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, which enhance the quality and flavor of this simple yet satisfying meal. Initially intended for the middle class for its affordability, the dish is found front and center on every table.

The star of this dish is undoubtedly the fish. While traditional British fish and chips typically feature cod or haddock. New England’s abundant coastal waters offer various fish options, including cod, haddock, hake, pollock, and regional specialties like scrod or flounder. Typically, the fish is coated in a light and crispy batter, creating a delightful contrast with the tender and flaky interior. Many establishments use beer batter for an extra touch of flavor, giving the fish a slightly tangy and malty taste.

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Accompanying the fish is a generous serving of thick-cut, hand-cut potato chips. Unlike thin fries, New England fish and chips typically feature chunky, golden fries that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The chips are usually seasoned with a pinch of salt, and, for some added authenticity, malt vinegar is offered as a condiment, allowing diners to drizzle it over their chips for a tangy kick.

To complement the dish beautifully, many establishments also serve fish and chips with coleslaw, tartar sauce, or a lemon wedge. The coleslaw contrasts the rich, fried elements, while the tartar sauce adds creaminess and acidity.

Beyond the food, fish and chips’ popularity in New England is also about the experience. If you travel to the region, seek establishments with a rustic and charming ambiance, often situated near the water. The relaxed and inviting atmosphere will complete the experience.

Whether you are a seafood enthusiast, a traveler exploring the New England coast, or a local looking for a comforting meal, fish and chips in New England is a delightful and enduring culinary tradition. The combination of fresh, local ingredients, a rich maritime heritage, and a commitment to time-honored recipes ensures that this classic dish holds a special place in the hearts and appetites of those who savor its crispy, flavorful goodness.

{Aunt Carrie’s, since 1920, Rhode Island, iconic street-food seafood landmark}


Classic New England-style fish and chips:


For the Fish:

  • Four fillets of white fish (such as cod, haddock, or pollock)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • One teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup cold sparkling water or beer
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the Chips (Fries):

  • Four large russet potatoes
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt to taste

For Serving:

  • Lemon wedges
  • Tartar sauce
  • Coleslaw (optional)


Here’s a step-by-step guide to preparing a classic New England-style fish and chips recipe:

Combine flour, baking powder, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper to create a perfectly seasoned dish. Whisk in cold sparkling water or beer until a thick batter coats the back of a spoon.

Begin by patting dry the fish fillets with paper towels. Then, season them with a pinch of salt and dip them into the batter. Ensure that all excess batter drips off before placing each fillet carefully into a pot or deep fryer filled with vegetable oil, which should be heated to 350-375°F (175-190°C). Fry the fish for about 4-6 minutes until it turns golden brown and becomes crispy.

If needed, cook the fish in small portions to avoid overcrowding the fryer. After frying, use a slotted spoon to remove the fish from the oil and put it on a plate lined with paper towels to remove any extra oil.

Peel and cut the potatoes into thick, uniform strips to prepare the chips. Heat another pot or deep fryer with vegetable oil to 325-350°F (160-175°C). Carefully add the potato strips to the hot oil and fry them for about 4-6 minutes or until they are slightly tender but not fully browned.

Drain excess oil from the partially fried chips by resting them on a platter lined with paper towels.

Just before serving, return the partially fried chips to the hot oil for a second frying, cooking them for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

Drain and salt the food while hot after removing it from the oil.

To serve, place the hot, crispy fish and chips on a plate and offer lemon wedges, tartar sauce, and coleslaw on the side for dipping and garnishing. 

Note: use a thermometer to check the oil’s temperature constantly. (SimVal Communication, USA)

There is a constant, recognizable thread in Walter Potenza's career to elevate the level of Italian culinary culture in the United States. Besides his unquestionable culinary talent and his winning business perspective, Chef Walter has been a relentless educator with passion and knowledge who contributes to defeating stereotypes. His life, career, and values are a model, an example to follow, by any Italian gastronomy chef working outside Italy. A native of Mosciano Sant' Angelo in Abruzzo, Italy, is known as one of the most passionate and accomplished practitioners of traditional and historical Italian cooking in the nation. His fields of expertise include Terracotta Cookery, Historical Cookery from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, the Cuisines of the Sephardim Italian Jewish Heritage, and the Mediterranean 21 Health & Wellness, with major emphasis on Diabetes, Celiac and the Cuisines of the 21 countries present in the MED basin.

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