Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fish Sticks

I have never understood why, in all 7 1/2 years of parenting, fish sticks are such a huge hit with kids.  I mean, typically, fish is the least-liked food among most kids (and dare I say, even some adults?).  So, maybe it is the extra crunchy batter that surrounds a less-than-authentic piece of fish?   Maybe it is the colorful packaging on the box that comes out of the freezer?  I don't claim to have the answers.  I just know that I've not been the kind of mom that buys boxes of pre-made food out of the grocer's freezer.  Now, I'm not judging you if you do.  I just prefer to make my own.  And I would like to suggest that homemade is better, especially in the case of fish sticks.  Use real fish.  Make your own breading.  Leave out the processed, partially hydrogenated stuff.  Bake or broil instead of fry.  You know?

My kids gobbled these fish sticks down--flaky, tender white fish.  Breading that was crispy and just the right amount.  A yummy lemon-mayonnaise dipping sauce.  These were even pretty tasty warmed up the next day for lunch!

So, indulge.  But let's keep it real!

Homemade Fish Sticks
Adapted from Giada's Kitchen

1 package of frozen white fish fillets, thawed (I used tilapia)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 egg whites
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup plain bread crumbs
olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Rinse the fish fillet and pat dry with paper towels.  Cut each piece of fish in half; if you want smaller "sticks," slice each piece into 1/2-inch strips (I kept mine in halves).

Place the flour in a medium bowl and season with the salt and pepper.  Place the egg whites in another bowl and beat until frothy, about 30 seconds.  Combine the Parmesan and bread crumbs in a third bowl.  Line the bowls up and tell yourself your breading station looks nice.

Coat the fish fillets in the seasoned flour and pat to remove any excess.  Dip the floured fish into the egg whites and then into the bread crumb mixture, gently pressing the mixture into the fish.  Place the breaded fish on parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Repeat with remaining fish pieces.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve with your favorite sauce or condiment.

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