After many trial-and-error sessions of this recipe, I am very happy to share with you what I have found to be the most successful at making this deceptively easy dish. If you have already attempted to make your own fish sticks and failed miserably, join the club. This post is for you.
As I said, I went through many trial sessions on this – wanting to nail it head on. The end result?
Crispy flavorful breading on the outside and soft flaky fish on the inside.
Take one bite and you are in heaven.
Don’t like the fishy taste of fish? Neither does my husband, so that was another obstacle I had to jump over to ace this recipe. Yes, there is a way to tame that fishy smell/taste and I tried it, and my husband loved it! I got that handy tip from Cooks Illustrated, which is a fantastic magazine by the way. So reader, please read on and enjoy.
Baked Fish Sticks with Tartar Sauce
Here’s what you’ll need for the fish:
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. mayo
Seasonings: thyme, salt and pepper, garlic powder etc.
1 tbsp. minced garlic
Milk (maybe a few cups, depending on how much fish you have)
White fish (I used cod), cut into sticks
Here’s what you’ll need for the sauce:
1/2 cup mayo
2 tbsp. sour cream
Shallots or red onion, minced (maybe 1/3 cup worth)
1 medium-sized dill pickle, diced
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1. For the tartar sauce: mix all ingredients in food processor, blend till smooth. By all means, keep taste-testing to get your preferred taste. Place prepared sauce in bowl and place in fridge for flavors to marry.
2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Set wire rack on baking sheet, spray wire rack with pam.
3. While oven is preheating, soak fish in milk for at least 20 minutes. This is the trick to help tame that fishy taste and smell.
4. In the skillet, melt a little butter over medium heat. Add minced garlic and seasonings. Add panko crumbs. Stir constantly for 5 minutes until the crumbs are toasted lightly. Remove and transfer to shallow dish to cool. This step is essential to get that crisp flavor without having to fry the fish.
5. Whisk 2 tbsp. mayo, 1 egg yolk, lemon zest in bowl. Pat fish dry and season with salt and pepper. Coat fish in mayo mixture first, then dredge in crumbs. Place fish on wire-rack, make sure the fish are spaced between each other and not touching.
6. Bake 30-40 minutes, rotating pan 1/2 way through. Serve with tartar sauce. Enjoy!