Like many from my generation, I grew up eating frozen fish sticks on a semi-regular basis. I remember liking them fairly well as long as they were dipped in a generous amount of ketchup, but not well enough to keep eating them once I became an adult and was responsible for feeding myself. So it was with a slight bit of trepidation that I tackled Ellie Krieger’s Favorite Fish Fingers recipe from Comfort Food Fix–a grown-up (and healthier) version of fish sticks. The recipe calls for another Comfort Food Fix recipe, Light-and-Crisp Whole-Wheat Bread Crumbs (p. 73), and she recommends serving the fish fingers with her Creamy Mustard Dip with Chives (p. 197). I was thrilled to be able to mark off 3 recipes from the book all at once! After a quick Internet search, I also found where the three recipes are all condensed into one on the Food Network website.
I began dinner preparations with the bread crumbs. Ellie’s recipe calls for 4 slices of whole-wheat sandwich bread that are about 1 ounce each. The only sliced bread I had on hand was Sara Lee’s light 100% whole-wheat with honey bread, which took 5 slices to reach a total of 4 ounces. After processing the bread into fine crumbs in my food processor, I baked the crumbs on a cookie sheet in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes. They came out aromatic and golden brown, just as promised:
While the crumbs cooled, I made the mustard dip. I had to purchase fresh chives for the dip, but all of the other ingredients I already had in my refrigerator and pantry. The dip was extremely easy to make, especially because I had made it once last year. Into the fridge it went so that the flavors would meld and the dip would be chilled before serving.
Finally, it was time for the main event: Favorite Fish Fingers. I used flounder, as my mom had given me a pound of frozen flounder fillets a while back that I was needing to cook. The fish fingers were rather messy to put together, as they are first dredged in flour, then dipped into an egg mixture, and finally coated in the bread crumbs. Luckily I have some practice now with such a procedure, so I kept the three mixtures fairly separate by using my right hand for the flour and egg and my left hand for the bread crumbs. The fish fingers definitely looked different from the fish sticks of my memory, being rather thin and non-rectangular, but I actually found this comforting. Surely these “imperfections” were a sign of a tastier and healthier final product ahead.
Ellie promised that the fish fingers would be crunchy on the outside and filled with tender, mild fish fillets on the inside. She was right. The breading on the fish fingers crisped up perfectly in the oven.
I really enjoyed the warm and crispy fish fingers paired with the cool and creamy mustard dip, although John stuck to classic ketchup for his serving. I gave both the fish fingers and the mustard dip 4 stars! The fish fingers were a nice alternative to the usual way I cook white fish fillets, which involves simply a sprinkling of Cajun seasoning on the fish before baking it in the oven. The fish fingers are by far best right out of the oven, however. We had the leftovers the following night, and they were no longer crispy. Next time I make this for John and me, I’ll cut the recipe in half so we don’t have any left at the end of the meal.
Comfort Food Fix recipes made: 16
Comfort Food Fix recipes still to make: 137