All Shaun’s girlfriend Liz wants is dinner at a nice restaurant, the place that does all the fish. The Winchester doesn’t even have proper food. It has plenty of nibbles though: Mini Cheddars. Twigglets. And my personal favorite, Hog Lumps. It’s the perfect place for a nice cold pint whilst waiting for the zombie apocalypse to blow over.
Shaun of the Dead (2004) is a delightful horror comedy directed by Edgar Wright and cowritten by Wright and Simon Pegg who also stars as Shaun. He’s not a bad guy, but he’s directionless and ambitionless, more or less content to work his middling job by day and spend every evening in the same pub. The film is a hilarious if depressing commentary about how we drone through our daily lives, so much so that when the zombie apocalypse begins it’s almost indiscernible. Once they start attacking though, Shaun takes charge. Along with his best friend Ed, he manages to scoop up his very sweet mother who calls him “Pickle,” Liz, who has freshly broken up with him, and her flatmates, and lead them to the Winchester to hunker down.
By the end, Shaun has grown as a person and manages to make enough changes to win Liz back. And while he may never be the type to take her to a fancy restaurant that does fish, he can at least take her to a pub that does fish and chips…maybe even the Winchester! It did get completely trashed by zombies so maybe when they renovate they’ll put in a kitchen.
I thought it would be fun to, instead of chips, make fried pickles to incorporate Shaun’s mother’s nickname for him. While fried pickles originated in the American south, they have been popping up on pub menus (or so says Google) and are the perfect accompaniment to a nice cold pint.
Originally I was thinking to incorporate Hog Lumps somehow. I mean, with a name like that how could I not at least consider it? Turns out there are a lot of recipes online that use pork rinds as breading for low carb versions of fried fish and fried pickles…but after thinking about it for a minute, anything called “Keto” or “Whole 30” just didn’t feel very English pub-like. So I went with classic beer batter for both the fish and the pickles. For a dipping sauce, malt vinegar mayonnaise.
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Winchester Fish and Fried Pickles with Malt Vinegar Mayo
For the malt vinegar mayo
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon malt vinegar
- salt & pepper
Whisk together mayonnaise and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the fish and pickles
- 16 ounce jar dill pickle chips
- 1 pound firm white fish fillets such as cod
- 18 ounces beer (one and a half bottles – drink the rest!), I used Guiness
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
- salt & pepper
- vegetable oil for frying
Heat a half inch oil in a frying pan on medium high (you may need to lower heat).
Drain and dry the pickles and dry with a paper towel. Dry fish fillets thoroughly with paper towels and salt and pepper liberally on both sides.
Whisk together beer and eggs. Separately, whisk together flour and baking soda and stir into the beer mixture. Season with a pinch of salt and some fresh cracked pepper, but not too much, being mindful that the pickles are already salty and the fish is also seasoned separately.
Test a little of the batter in the oil to see if it is ready. Dip the pickles in the batter, letting excess drip off, and fry in small batches until golden, about 3-4 minutes, flipping half way. Remove to a paper towel.
Dip fish in remaining batter and fry in batches until golden, 3/4 minutes each side.
Serve hot with dipping sauce, extra malt vinegar, and lemon.
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