Gluten-Free Salt and Vinegar Baked Fish

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you untangled two items that are classically known as a pair, and then smushed them back together in a different way?

Vertical image of a tray lined with parchment paper with baked breaded meat pieces on top next to a creamy dressing, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

If your mind immediately went to Ross and Rachel, we’re totally on the same page. But right now, we’re going to talk about fish and chips instead.

The classic English pub dish is one of my favorite random cravings. This deep-fried specialty doesn’t suddenly pop into my head as often as, say, chips and queso, pizza, or a tuna melt. But when I do get a hankering, it is on like nobody’s business.

(Well, except for yours, right now, because I feel like sharing!)

When my taste buds want warm, battered handfuls of fried fillets splashed with lemon juice and nutty malt vinegar, nothing else will suffice.

Vertical image of three pieces of breaded cooked meat on newspaper next to a bowl of a creamy dressing and lemon slices.

Go ahead. Just close your eyes and picture a buttery golden-brown wedge diving headfirst (tailfirst?) into an overflowing ramekin of tangy, dill-scented tartar sauce.

Holy fish. Who’s hungry now? (Raises hand).

For those of you currently drooling all over your desktops, I’ve got good news for you:

You don’t need to scurry over to the nearest pub to get your hands on some good fried fillets and chips. You don’t even need to break out the deep-fryer. And you can even prepare a homemade gluten-free approximation of this delish dish without any malt in sight.

Now, back to untangling things.

Although the “chips” half of fish and chips refers in the UK to some form of hand-cut potatoes, aka French fries… what if it didn’t? What if the chips were actual American-style potato chips instead?

Vertical image of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, with five pieces of breaded and baked meat on top next to a bowl full of a creamy white dressing and herb garnish.

Rather than drowning the hot and crispy fillets in heavy-handed splatters of malt vinegar – well, why not carry that flavor profile all the way through?

On that note, I present to you: salt and vinegar chip-crusted fish.

Not only does this twist on the classic version check the gluten-free box, since there’s no wheat in the batter or malt in the vinegar, it’s baked instead of fried. That’s right. I said it.

So, how does it work? First, a mayo-buttermilk blend acts as an undercoat. Think of it as the light sweater you wear under your heavy jacket.

Next, a thick layer of tart, crumbled chips and fresh herbs goes over the top. The mayonnaise mixture keeps the seafood juicy, while the chips add crispy texture and act as flavor bombs, going off left and right.

Vertical close-up image of a hand holding a piece of breaded, cooked, and flaky white meat.

After a quick joy ride in the oven, you’re left with a “fish and chips” twist that offers epic crunch on the outside, and moist, flaky seafood on the inside.

Hit it with a dollop of homemade tartar sauce and a squeeze of lemon, and you’ll be shouting things like, “Alfred, another pint over here!” before you know it.

Since this recipe doesn’t require standing over a fryer, it’s easy to double the ingredients for a bigger batch, lay out some newspaper, break out the dark beer, and invite your housemates or neighbors to join in the feast.

Print
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Horizontal image of three pieces of breaded and baked fillets on a newspaper next to lemons, herbs, and a bowl of a creamy white dressing.

Gluten-Free Salt and Vinegar Baked Fish


  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

In this gluten-free fish and chips makeover, flaky fillets are coated in crunchy salt and vinegar potato chips and baked until golden.


Scale

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking oil spray
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups finely crushed gluten-free salt and vinegar potato chips
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless mild white fish (cod, haddock, tilapia, etc.), cut into thick evenly-sized strips
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Tartar sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and grease a large baking sheet with cooking oil spray.
  2. In a deep, wide bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine the crushed salt and vinegar chips with the dill and 1 tablespoon of the parsley.
  4. Season the fish strips with the salt and pepper. Working in batches, toss them in the mayo-buttermilk mixture until thoroughly coated. Remove the strips from the wet mixture a few at a time and dredge them in the crumbs, pressing gently to adhere.
  5. Carefully arrange the chip-crusted fish pieces on the prepared baking sheet, making sure to leave a little space between each. Generously spray the fish on top with the nonstick spray.
  6. Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 12-15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven. Garnish the baked fish with the remaining parsley and serve hot, preferably on clean newspaper to soak up any excess oil, with wedges of lemon and tartar sauce.

  • Category: Fish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: gluten-free, fish, salt and vinegar

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Crush the Chips, Chop the Herbs, and Slice the Seafood

Horizontal image of a red bowl with breadcrumbs next to chopped herbs on a wooden table.

Preheat the oven to 425°F and grease a large baking sheet, or two sheet pans, so the seafood will have plenty of room to bake.

Place the potato chips in a large releasable bag. Using a rolling pin or another heavy kitchen implement like a cast iron pan, crush the chips until you’ve created nearly uniform fine crumbs. As an alternative, you can also do this in a food processor.

Chop the dill and parsley, and slice the fillets into thick strips of about equal size, so they will cook evenly.

Step 2 – Make the Mayonnaise Mixture and the Herbed Chip Blend

Horizontal image of a red bowl full of a mayonnaise mixture.

In a deep, wide bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.

In a separate large bowl, mix the crushed salt and vinegar chips with the dill and 1 tablespoon of the parsley.

Step 3 – Coat the Seafood

Horizontal image of a plate of raw fillets, a red bowl with a breadcrumb mixture, and a bowl with a fillet on top of a mayonnaise mixture in a red plate.

Season the cut strips with the salt and pepper.

Working in batches, toss them in the mayo-buttermilk mixture until thoroughly coated on all sides.

Horizontal image of coating a fillet in a seasoned breadcrumb mixture in a red plate.

Remove them a few at a time from the wet mixture, and dredge them in the crumbs, gently pressing the mixture so it adhere to the pieces.

Horizontal image of breaded raw fillets on a baking sheet pan in rows.

Carefully arrange flat on the prepared baking sheet, making sure to leave a small amount of space between each one.

Step 4 – Bake and Serve

Horizontal image of a wooden plate with pieces of cooked fillets next to lemons, a glass of beer, herbs, and a bowl of creamy dressing.

Generously spray the top of each piece of seafood with the nonstick spray.

Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 12-15 minutes. If the fillet doesn’t get as dark on top as you would like, broil it on low until golden-brown, keeping a close eye on things since the chips can burn easily!

Remove from the oven. Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of chopped parsley. I like to put mine on clean newspaper, to soak up any excess oil, and this provides a fun pub-style look.

Serve hot, with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.

Fish and Chips, and Chips on Fish

I think salt and vinegar chips make the best coating for this recipe, but you can feel free to get creative and crush up your favorite flavors. Spicy jalapeno, cheddar and sour cream, sweet onion? There’s plenty of fish in the sea.

(See what I did there?)

Horizontal image of three pieces of breaded and baked fillets on a newspaper next to lemons, herbs, and a bowl of a creamy white dressing.

If you’re into the concept of baked versus fried but don’t require the recipes that you make at home to be gluten free, you could also toss some panko breadcrumbs into your chip mix for added crunch (and feel free to add extra malt vinegar when you serve it too, if you like).

Looking for other fresh ideas for serving seafood? Swim towards these sensational tips, tricks, and recipes next:

Cod is the most traditional option for this dish, but it’s not always available. What flaky white variety is your backup?

Tilapia? Haddock? Share your fillet-of-choice in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.

Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on November 25, 2012. Last updated on December 22, 2020.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Fanny Slater

Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”

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