Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fish Sticks

As children, we were not huge fans of fish for dinner. First, our mother wasn't that great a fish cook - she often cooked it to death. Second, we were coerced into eating it every Friday by threats of disapproval from the priests and nuns. Third, we were raised when frozen foods were in their heyday - miracles of modern science! - so it wasn't often the very best and freshest anyway.

Fish sticks were the exception. We got either TV dinners or fish sticks when our parents went out to a party. We adored TV dinners and fish sticks, little Philistines that we were. Not only were they all the unhealthy things we craved and Mom rarely allowed, they also meant that Mom and Dad were not there to monitor table manners. We could eat like slobs, watch too much TV, and finish off all the ice cream.  No wonder they were beloved!

I hadn't eaten fish sticks (unless you count the rare Filet-o-Fish sandwich at McDonalds) in probably 60 years. Once I was grown up, I had permission to eat like a slob and finish off all the ice cream any time I wanted, so fish sticks receded into my distant past until Cookiecrumb mentioned them and recommended that I try Kalyn Denny's version.

Tumbling Proustian memories of childish glee! The parental units were going out for the evening! 

I set about collecting the ingredients, somewhat simplified and degraded somewhat from Kalyn's excellent recipe, and got ready to create my own fish sticks.

I used halibut because it's caught wild and fresh right off our coast. I used white bread panko crumbs, since I couldn't find the whole wheat version at my market. I added some dried dill weed to the crumbs, salt, and pepper because I think dill with fish is delicious. I used two farm-fresh eggs with shocking orange yolks - and two was too many for just us two, so I made a little omelet with the rest and served that alongside.

Other than that, I followed Kalyn's recipe, slicing the fish into strips about 1" diameter, dredging the fish in scrambled egg before coating it liberally with the panko crumbs, setting the strips on a sheet pan covered for ease of cleanup with parchment paper, and sliding it into a 425 degree F oven for 15 minutes. 

The crisp coating only hinted at dill - next time, I'd add the dill to the egg and let it steep for a while - but it was a fun complement to the mild fish. These were not mealy, nor greasy like the fish sticks of my youth - the sweet, mild fish slid apart under our forks and the coating tickled our tongues. My Beloved, who probably never had fish sticks in his life before, was enthusiastic.  

I was swept back to my childhood. After dinner, he and I watched too much TV and finished off all the ice cream.


Blogger Diane said...

These look and sound delightful. Not those things out of the freezer case. Loved your childhood story..

Saturday, May 25, 2013  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Yay! Did you dunk them in anything? We found we liked a big squirt of lemon best. (And we ate them with our hands.)

Saturday, May 25, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Diane, thanks - we were horrible children, but then, aren't all children horrible in some way?

Cookiecrumb, no dunking this time. I thought about making some tartar sauce, but it seemed counter-productive to the idea of low-fat dinner. Like you, I settled for lemon juice on the side, and it was perfect.

Saturday, May 25, 2013  
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Friday, May 31, 2013  

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