Thursday, September 22, 2011

Real Food Recipe: Parmesan Fish Sticks

Being from Louisiana, I can't imagine life without seafood, but, much to my dismay, I married a man from Georgia who couldn't stand the stuff.  I still can't wrap my mind around how anyone could dislike seafood, but, alas, he did not.  He had some lame excuse about food poisoning or seasickness or something like that.  Since I could not live my life without seafood, I started cooking it and trying to find ways that he would eat it, and I actually found some ways he would eat it.  He didn't like "fishy" fish, so milder tasting fish like tilapia was a huge hit.  He liked it "blackened", which is a fine reason for me to bomb something with Cajun seasoning.  I could occasionally get him to eat salmon, but it was a little too fishy for his palate.  Eventually, I also got him to try and enjoy shrimp, alligator, and, yes, even the occasional crawfish (as long as he never ever saw it in its shell, and it was cooked into a pasta or something).

Owen, on the other hand, has always loved fish.  When he would eat no other meat, he'd gladly eat a plate full of fish.  How he distinguished fish from other white meats, I'm not sure, but he has always loved fish.  

This is one reason why I was so excited to come across this recipe for homemade fish sticks.  Not only are the delicious and healthy, but they are also super convenient.  I frequently make a large batch and freeze them, pulling them out for lunch during the week.  Owen and Shane *love* them.  One of my favorite recipes!
(Picture taken from, from where the recipe was adapted.)

Parmesan Fish Sticks

1 lb Fish Filets (a mild-tasting fish works best)
2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese (freshly and finely grated works best)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I make mine from my homemade sourdough bread.  See directions below.)
Seasonings of choice (I like a little garlic and cajun seasoning)


Tip: If you are using fresh fish, I'd recommend freezing for an hour or two before beginning.  If you are using frozen fish, thaw almost completely, but not totally, before beginning.  Leaving the fish a little frozen makes them easier to cut and keeps a nicer "fish stick" shape.
  1. Cut fish into small strips.
  2. Marinade in buttermilk for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. In a bowl, combine Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs, salt and season to taste.
  4. Preheat oven to 425.  Thoroughly grease baking sheet.
  5. Remove fish strips, letting excess buttermilk drip off, and coat in Parmesan/bread crumb mixture, pressing the coating into the fish to make sure that it's stuck really well.  Place onto baking sheet.
  6. Once all the fish sticks are on the pan, place in oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and finished on the inside.  
  7. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pan.
  8. Serve with marinara! 

*Breadcrumb directions: Cut up some stale sourdough, put in food processor, and blend until crumbs.  Cook in the oven at 350 until toasty.

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