When my kids were younger and I didn’t cook so much from scratch, I used to buy them frozen fish sticks. They ate them and liked them then. But, now that I’ve turned my whole family into food snobs, they wouldn’t dare touch them. When my daughter was in the 8th grade, they had a little 8th grade banquet, which is like a celebration of “graduating” middle school and moving on to high school, which, by the way, I still find it strange to have 9th graders and 12th graders in the same school. But it kind of works out for me since I have a 9th grader and a 12th grader at the same school and, therefore, the 9th grader has a ride to and from school. Woo-hoo!
Anywho, when my daughter got home from the dance, she was telling me about this spaghetti dinner they had and how awful it was and how I ruined her from eating normal teenager food by making awesome food at home. She won’t even eat the cafeteria food and brings her own lunch, even though they have Chick-fil-A and Pizza Hut. Bad parenting, I know.
So back to the fish sticks. I made some really good Crispy Fish Sticks the other night. The coating is really crispy and the fish is flaky and tender on the inside. And I even made homemade tartar sauce, despite the fact that, according to my children, nobody eats tartar sauce. Your mother eats tartar sauce, Children, and I’m somebody. My daughter wasn’t home to eat these, but my son was and he loved them. So it’s great for kids of all ages! Enjoy!
CRISPY FISH STICKS
1 1/2 pound skinless cod filets, cut into about 2-inch strips
4 slices white bread
20 saltine crackers
1/2 C flour
1/4 C mayonnaise
Salt & pepper
Peanut oil, for frying
Cocktail sauce for serving, if desired
FOR THE TARTAR SAUCE:
1/2 C mayonnaise
2 T dill pickle relish
1 T pickle juice
1 T minced fresh dill
Salt & pepper, to taste
NOTE: My fish sticks weren’t perfect rectangles, which is fine with me. However, I found that some of them didn’t quite cook through during the frying time. I left them in the oven at 200 degrees for about 10-15 minutes to finish off the inside. Just be sure and check them so that they aren’t undercooked in the center.
For the tartar sauce, whisk together all ingredients and put it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Grind the bread slices and saltines into a fine almost powder. Put the flour into a bowl by itself. Whisk the eggs and the 1/4 C mayo together in another bowl. Put the bread and saltine mixture into another bowl and season with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Heat some peanut oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Dip the fish into the flour first, then into the egg mixture, then into the bread and saltine mixture. Fry the fish sticks in batches until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Drain them on a paper towel and put them on a sheet pan in the oven to keep them warm. Serve with the tartar sauce and cocktail sauce, if desired.