When I was a kid I wasn’t super into fish or really any seafood. The smell freaked me out a bit and I just couldn’t get into it. The exception was crunchy fish sticks with a tasty condiment for dipping, usually ketchup or cocktail sauce. I’m pretty sure it was because the fish used in fish sticks is generally very mild…the fact that it’s crispy-fried probably didn’t hurt either. Now, as an adult, I welcome all sorts of seafood, any way it is prepared. I’ve even been known to down several raw oysters with much enthusiasm! But, crisp-coated fish sticks will always have a special place in my heart and belly, as my favorite first fish.
Unlike the frozen fish sticks of my childhood, these fish sticks are ultra-crunchy thanks to a coating of light and crisp Progresso Panko Bread Crumbs and a quick shallow fry in some hot oil. The dipping sauce for these will please both adult and kiddo eaters alike with flavors of pungent garlic, zesty lemon and bright herbs.
To begin, we mix up the quick aioli so it’s set to go when your fish is fried. Mixing up the dip ahead of time allows the flavors to meld together nicely. It’s a simple mix of mayonnaise, plain Greek yogurt, a minced clove of garlic, fresh dill, chives, lemon juice and lemon zest.
Then, we put together a dredging station for coating our fish. I used cod in this recipe for its mild flavor and availability. To dredge we just need flour, an egg, some milk, a few dashes of hot sauce, panko, salt, pepper and a little paprika.
The fish pieces get dredged through the seasoned flour first, then the egg mixture, and finally the seasoned panko.
After a quick fry in some hot oil, you have a quick, delicious and super-crunchy fish stick lunch or dinner!