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Gourmet Fish Sticks

It's a long sordid story but I need to work on my Valentine's meal for my girlfriend. I detest fish sticks but they are her favorite. Please help me on some ideas for making some not run of the mill, great gourmet fish sticks.

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  1. Well, I don't know if she'll only accept frozen, already breaded, fish sticks or if you get to make your own. If it's the latter, I have some ideas.

    1. It's so cute that you're making them for her. If you're making your own, I know I've had great grouper or dolphin "fingers" when they're made with panko. I'm sure you can find a recipe if you search for fish fingers instead of sticks. Also, I'll bet there are some great sauces - maybe some asian inspired ones or interesting takes on cocktail or tartar. Good luck!

      1. These baked fish sticks diablo are quite good. Even you might like them.

        Whisk together 6 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon fresh dill.

        On a plate, mix 1 cup breadcrumbs with as much or as little cayenne as you like.

        Preheat an oiled baking sheet at 475 degrees.

        Cut 11/2 pounds catfish into 3- by 3/4- inch strips.

        Dip fish into butter mixture, then into crumbs and bake, turning once, for about 6 minutes per side.

        Happy Valentine's day

        2 Replies
        1. re: Glencora

          I like this a lot. Have you tried this with other fishes as well? I'm thinking that if catfish works, talapia might as well?

          1. re: jpschust

            Sure, the recipe says that any white fish would work.

        2. Best fish sticks I ever ate were at my dad's cafeteria. They started out with frozen "raw cod shims" which they then cut with a bandsaw into sticks each about the size of a stick of butter (the longer, slimmer sticks you get in the midwest, not the short stubby ones I found in oregon). They dredged them in flour, then egg milk, then batter of some kind, and fried them. No pressed and formed fish, no surprise ingredients--and they were actually really good given that they began with frozen fish instead of fresh.

          Don't know if that translates into anything that will help you, but the topic triggered a memory.

          1. Oakjoan's question is right on target: Jp, does your friend want you to replicate the minced fish sticks from the box? Does she want you to do a gourmet finger-width with the best fish and the best breading? Either approach could be fun. We're here to help, but we need to know the parameters of the culinary compromise. T'would be a pity were any Valentine's dinner give way without a whimper to Gorton's.

            1 Reply
            1. re: FoodFuser

              The fish sticks she loves are the ones from the box. Yech. My goal is to make something similar, but not the same, but with a distinctly gourmet twist. I'm going to be altering a macaroni and cheese recipe to match the fish sticks as this is her favorite pairing. I guess my thought here is let's take something I know she loves and let's turn it on its head :)

            2. Make fish tacos with tlapia or grouper, about 1/2 X 1/2 X 3 inches. Coat in flour, then make an egg wash with 1 egg and 2 T of milk (beat together) and coat the floured sticks with the egg mix. Then toss them with panko bread crumbs and shallow fry them in 1/2 inch of oil. Make some jalapeno cole slaw and serve with corn tortillias. For the tortillias just rub them with a little oil and put them in a heated dry frying pan for a minute or two each side. How about some refried bean on the side...

              1. I made a really great fish-stickesque dish the other night from Bittman's Best Recipes in the World. They were called Amritsari Spicy Fish (or something like that). The filets were marinated in ginger, garlic, cayenne and lemon juice and s&p for about 30 minutes, then they were battered and fried. The batter was simple and flavored with curry powder. They were fab. Let me know if you want the actual recipe.

                1 Reply
                1. re: oakjoan

                  Could you post this recipe? I'd love it. Thanks.

                2. Maybe you could just make yours with the ingredients listed on the box of the frozen ones (minus the preservatives of course). They may have to be deep fried, but once in while it's OK.. Then you could make a selection of dipping sauces to try to make things interesting.

                  1. For a twist, how about some tempura? You could use some nice cod, or even better - halibut, and coat in some tempura batter. And while you're frying you could also batter some zucchini and sweet potatoes. Kind of like a japanese fish and chips. For dipping sauces you could use a classic tentsuyu recipe or how about a wasabi aoli in lieu of tarter sauce?

                    1. Love the tempura idea, but I need to clarify. Over here (UK) fish sticks and fish fingers are two very different beasts. Sticks don't bear thinking about and have two layers one brilliant white, the other lurid pink. Fingers on the other hand are breaded or battered and fried/baked. The sticks do not bear thinking about, but the fingers... I'd say the most straightforward gourmet version would be breaded and fried lemon sole goujons.

                      1. Do they have to be "sticks"? I made great cod potato cakes (more like balls) recently that were great. I served them with a lemon sauce. You could probably shape them into stick shapes.

                        1. Pollock is the fish used in commercial fish sticks. Pollock fillets are readily available in the frozen fish section of most groceries. Very easy to cut into small widths when semi-thawed.

                          Lots of breading recipes out there. The commercial types do a starch dusting, then a soda leavened batter, drained then re-chilled, then a coating in dry crumbs. Then they pre-fry (as with frozen fries, tater tots etc) to make them oven-ready. Their goal is to bulk up the breading towards 49% of the product so that they can still call it "fish sticks" under FDA 50% mandates..

                          Since it's for Valentines Day, have you considered cutting the fillet into a Heart shape?