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Fish Sticks with a Twisted Tartar Sauce

In Cheese, Fish and Seafood, Parmesan, Recipe, Sauces / Condiments
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Finished - Blog 1062
The idea for these sticks came to me while shopping at BJ's Wholesale today.  I was perusing the frozen food section for some fish filets that were individually frozen so that I could have an easy and healthy non-meat alternative always on hand for Peyton.  As you may recall, she is our resident pescatarian and on nights when the rest of us are eating meat, I need to be able to offer her some other protein with her meal.  Soy based "fake meat" proteins will only get you so far, and shrimp apparently is getting a bit overdone around here as well, so individually frozen fish filets were on my shopping list today.

Luckily, these days there are all sorts of options without resorting to pre-battered fish sticks, as most of those are loaded with sodium and a long list of additives and preservatives with names so complicated that I don't dare try to pronounce them.  In BJ's alone I found the following "naked" frozen fish, some farmed, and some wild caught.  There was salmon, pollock, barramundi, tilapia, cod, halibut, flounder, catfish, and mahi-mahi.  Gotta love having options.  While most of these would have worked well for the purposes of making fish sticks, I thought the mild flavor and firm texture of the mahi would be perfect.  I was right.

As it turns out, it was just me and the girls tonight so I thawed just three of the filets and cut each into four planks.  breaded them with a combination of panko and freshly grated parmesan cheese, then whipped up a quick dipping sauce and served it all up with some smashed potatoes and peas.

The verdict?

I should have made more.  

Each of us wolfed down our filet and were left with a hankerin' for just a few more bites.  Suffice to say they turned out delicious and were a big hit with our pescatarian and meat eaters alike.  For those of you with little ones who are chicken nugget fans, toss a few of these their way and see what happens.  If they (or you) are totally anti-fish, dress up some chicken strips with this breading and offer up some of the dipping sauce too as a change of pace.

Cheers - Steve


Fish Sticks with Twisted Tartar Sauce

by: Steve Dunn

(Print Friendly Version)



for the sticks:

  • 4 mahi-mahi filets (or other firm fleshed fish of choice) fresh, or frozen and thawed (each 5-7 ounces)
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 egg whites, beaten till frothy
  • EVOO
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

for the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain, greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced cornichons
  • 1 tablespoon chopped capers
  • 2 peppadew peppers, finely minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon pimenton (smoked paprika)



  1. Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the oven to 450℉ and place a rack in the center position.
  3. Liberally oil a rimmed baking sheet with EVOO and set aside.
  4. Set three shallow bowls in a row, fill the first with the flour (seasoned with some salt and pepper), the second with the beaten egg whites, and the third with the parmesan and panko mixed together.
  5. Cut each fish filet into sticks.  I quartered our filets and ended up with 3" x 1" x 1/2" pieces.  Season each stick lightly with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour (shaking off the excess), then roll in the egg whites, and finally toss into the breadcrumb-cheese mix, pressing the coating onto each piece of fish.  Move each piece to the prepared baking sheet as completed.  Drizzle the top of each piece with a little EVOO.
  6. Put the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, turning the sticks over at about the halfway point of cooking.
  7. Serve with the tartar sauce on the side, and a wedge of fresh lemon if you choose.

Serves 4 






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"Oui, Chef" exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my kids a few things about cooking, and how their food choices over time effect not only their own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, passing on established familial food traditions, and starting some new ones. Read more...
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