Though suitable for kids, these fish sticks aren’t the ones from your childhood. They’re a play on my golden nuggets – a grown up, gussied down (no additives, no fillers) version that will satisfy even the most devout fish and chips fan. I’ve opted for a very simple batter, but you can add whatever dried herbs or spices you like. If you want to get extra crazy, you can substitute beer for seltzer or swap half the flour for cornmeal.
Like most people, I struggle buying fish. Fish is an amazing source of protein, filled with omega 3’s and amino acids, but the packaging or person behind the counter often can’t tell me how the fish was raised or where it comes from. So, when I so stumble upon inexpensive, quasi local and MSC verified fish, I snatch it up. Here, I’m using catfish – a firm, white fish with a mild flavor that stands up to frying. Turbot and cod would also work well.
1 1/2 pounds of catfish filets
1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
3/4 cup seltzer water or enough to make medium thin batter (it should be the consistency of honey) – increase by tablespoons as necessary
Canola or other neutral oil for frying
Lemon wedges for serving
1. Cut catfish into strips, about 3″ by 1″.
2. For the batter, mix all dry ingredients together, then slowly add in seltzer, whisking to dissolve any clumps.
3. When the batter is ready, add in the fish and toss to coat.
4. Pour canola oil to depth of half an inch in heavy bottomed pan (the oil should come halfway up the item you’re frying). Test the temperature of oil dropping a bit of batter into pan – the oil is ready when the batter sizzles and floats.
6. Fry fish sticks in batches of four or five at a time, about one to two minutes per sidea til completely golden. Do not crowd the pan or the temperature of the oil will drop!
7. Drain cooked fish sticks on paper towel then season with a little sea salt and squeeze of lemon. Serve immediately.