Chef Lizette Marx, Holistic Chef Instructor for Bauman College’s Holistic Chef Online Culinary Program brings us a fancy flare on a childhood favorite, Fish Sticks!
When we were little kids, my brother and I spent every day after school at my best friend’s house. Both my parents worked late so it was a great arrangement for all of us because my friend’s mom worked at the library and for a little over an hour we had the house to ourselves. So no parents in sight! Woo hoo!
Dinner At My Friend’s House
What I want to tell you about is Friday night dinner. You see, dinner at my friend’s house was very kid centered. Hot dogs, chicken fingers, grilled cheese and for a vegetable, usually Bird’s Eye mixed vegetables or iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing and croutons. Dessert was either chocolate ice cream or applesauce. On Friday night though dinner was our favorite because we’d get to have fish sticks and chocolate milk instead of plain nonfat milk. At home, my parents had low fat milk and it wasn’t watery and slightly bluish like the nonfat kind. Blehhh.
Both my brother and I built up fish stick Fridays thinking this dinner would be so tasty. My brother happily ate them but I was always a little disappointed. Frozen fish sticks were just okay. I was underwhelmed. They just tasted bready and not at all like fish. Where was the fish? Though they weren’t as good as I imagined, it was certainly better than the other dinner fare. While I loved my friend’s family, their food was functional and kinda plain.
Garlicky, Salty Crumb Coating
Even though I didn’t love them when I was actually eating them, I really wanted to because I looked forward to fish sticks all week. In honor of fish stick Fridays, I’d like to share my recipe, Any Day But Friday Fish Stix. These have the flavor I wish Friday Nite fish sticks had. You can taste the garlicky, salty crumb coating against the flakey texture of the fish. I like a little squeeze of lemon and that’s all, but I added a quick version of tartar sauce in this recipe. I use good quality Wild Alaskan Cod and Halibut which I think really makes this a dish that will delight the kids and the kid in you.
Any Day But Friday Fish Stix
- 1 lb 1 1/2-inch thick white fish (Halibut, Rock Cod, Wild Alaskan Cod, Sablefish)
- 1/2 cup cassava flour
- 3 egg whites
- 1/3 cup beer (a Pilsner or Lager)
- 2 cups breadcrumbs (can also use panko but try our garlic crouton breadcrumbs recipe below)
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
- 3 containers for breading fish (choose pie plates, pyrex baking dishes or shallow bowls)
- 2 large Baking sheets (if you only have one, that’s okay)
- 2 wire baking racks
- Parchment paper
- Plastic wrap
- Thin spatula or tongs
- Remove pin bones from fish and cut into 1 1/2-inch wide by 3 to 4-inch sticks. If fish is narrower, like a cod fillet then focus on cutting them into finger-sized strips.
- Make croutons recipe below and pulse in a food processor until finely crumbled; or use your favorite prepared ones.
- Mix breadcrumbs with lemon zest, sea salt, cayenne, turmeric and garlic powder.
- Set up three containers (wide shallow bowls or pyrex pie plates work well) with the following:
- Cassava flour
- Egg whites whisked with beer
- Bread crumb mixture
- Roll fish into cassava flour, then dip into egg and beer mixture and then coat in bread crumbs. Cook’s Tip: designate one hand for wet mixture and the other for dry. Set crumbed fish onto a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet.
- Cover all of the crumbed fish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. While this is happening make the tartar sauce if using.
- To pan fry. Set up another cooling rack over a baking sheet and cover with paper towels. Heat a 10 or 12-inch round skillet on medium heat. When water sizzles when sprinkled onto hot pan, it is ready for pan frying.
- Pour oil into the pan and spread around. Return to heat for another 30 seconds and then start pan frying the fish sticks. Make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan so fish sticks brown well.
- Cook about for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until the crust is golden and crisp looking.
- Set pan fried fish sticks on a rack covered in paper towels to blot out excess oil.
- Once finished pan frying all of the fish sticks, enjoy immediately. Serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges and a simple salad.
Garlic Crouton Breadcrumbs
- 1 sourdough batard (day old preferred)
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Small saucepan
- Large bowls
- Wooden spoon
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Food processor
Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Cube sourdough into 1 inch pieces.
- In a small sauce pan melt butter and stir in thyme, sea salt and garlic powder.
- Pour melted butter mixture into a large bowl.
- Toss in bread cubes until lightly coated. If you want more butter, melt more butter.
- Spread evenly across a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until croutons are golden brown and crunchy.
- Allow to cool at room temperature (crunch factor will increase during the cooling process).
- In a food processor, pulse croutons in batches until finely crumbled but into a paste. Be careful here…it happens.
- Use breadcrumbs in the Any Day But Friday Fish Stix recipe above.
- ½ cup olive-oil based mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon capers
- ½ pickle, finely diced
- 1 ½ teaspoons prepared horseradish (or more for swifter kick)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Mix all ingredients together and serve alongside fish sticks.
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