I loved fish sticks when I was a kid.
I think a lot of kids do. It seems to be one of the few fish dishes most kids will eat. I suppose because they don’t really taste fishy, and you get to eat them with ketchup and/or mayonnaise (at least that’s what we always ate them with).
I know my mom loved them too, because they were easy to make (just pop them out of the freezer and onto a baking sheet, and bake them for a few minutes), and they were something my two brothers and I all liked, which was a rare thing. We all had different foods we liked and hated, and they didn’t often correspond.
I hadn’t had fish sticks in years, but recently I was craving them for whatever reason.
I didn’t want to buy the traditional frozen fish sticks that had been fried, and had who knows what all in them, so I decided to make some homemade fish sticks.
I love baking traditionally deep fried foods as a healthier alternative. The main reason is of course that it’s, well, healthier. The other big reason, however, is that deep frying things freaks me out.
It’s true. Something about the large pot/fryer full of ridiculously hot oil freaks me out. I think I’m always going to get the oil too hot, set off the smoke alarm, burn the house down, and/or splash scalding oil on me or someone else. It’s a frightening thing.
I’m not entirely sure, but I think the reason for my fear of deep frying might be related to the fact that the last time I tried to deep fry anything, I got the oil too hot, smoke filled the kitchen, and I almost set the smoke alarm off… but I could be wrong.
They’re quite easy to make, really. Of course they’re not as easy as their frozen counterparts, but they’re sure a lot better for you!
To begin with, you need about 15 – 18 oz. of a firm white fish. I recommend cod fillets. It’s perfect for fish sticks. Make sure they’re boneless, or you’ll have a heck of a time eating them.
Cut the fish into small, fish stick size pieces.
Get three small bowls. Fill one with four, one with a beaten egg or two, and one with bread crumbs (I like panko, but that’s just my personal preference).
Dip each piece of fish into the flour, the egg, and then the bread crumbs. Try and get all sides of the fish well coated. Place the fish pieces on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake the fish for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and lovely. Like so.
You can bake several batches of these ahead of time, let them cool completely, and then freeze them in large freezer bags. Whenever you want some fish sticks, just pop them in the oven or toaster for a few minutes, and they’re ready!
If you want some homemade tartar sauce to go with your wonderful fish sticks, here’s what you’ll need: Mayonnaise, dill pickle relish, dijon mustard (or normal mustard), capers, onion powder, and salt and pepper.
Mix them all together (amounts listed below), and you have some fast, wonderful tartar sauce!
Mmmmm, it’s like the food from my childhood, but better! I served my fish sticks with boiled fingerling potatoes, succotash, and a couple pieces of some local spicy cheddar cheese. Wonderful.
Baked Fish Sticks
(serves 4 – 5)
- 15 – 18 oz. boneless skinless cod fillets
- 1 c. unbleached flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 c. panko bread crumbs
- salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 400° F (200° C).
- Cut the fish fillets into fish stick size pieces.
- Add the flour, egg, and bread crumbs, each to individual small bowls. Add a dash of salt and pepper to the flour and mix well.
- Dip each fish piece into the flour, egg, and then bread crumbs, respectively. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until fish turns golden brown.
(serves 4 – 5)
- 1/2 c. mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 4 tsp. dill pickle relish
- 4 tsp. capers, diced
Mix everything in a bowl and serve.