I’m admittedly a big kid, and maybe even a little childish when it comes to certain things. As a kid growing up, fish sticks were one of my favorite things in the world to eat. When my parents were at work, and I’d come home from school, making fish sticks in a toaster oven was one of the few things I was allowed to do on my own. I’d toast them up, sometimes a little too much — burning the bottoms, and then dunk them in ketchup (ew lol) and watching after-school cartoons. Some things never change. I still love the flavorful crunch contrasted by the tender, flaky fish flesh inside. It’s satisfying, nostalgic, and delicious. I love fried foods, but if there’s an even tastier (or as tasty) way to get the same results without using a bunch of oil, I’m all for it. My favorite fish to do this with is cod. It’s fairly inexpensive per pound, and neutral enough to take on just about anything you season it with. Flaky, juicy, deliciously wild from the sea. Whew, Lord.
This is such a basic “recipe”, that it’s not even really a recipe. More of a technique that everyone should master in their kitchen. You’ve seen it before, a bajillion times, and you’re about to see it again. I did not measure anything for this recipe, I just used my eyes — my favorite measuring tool. So, what I’ll do is just list what I used, and let you be the boss of your own proportions. You’re an adult (I’m assuming), so do whatever you want here. Season it however you’d like. It’s your fish.
Although I’ve baked this, you can absolutely be naughty and fry this up if you’d like. It’d be amazing either way.
this is the greek yogurt i’m using. no, this isn’t a sponsored post…this is just my favorite brand.
if I had to guess, I probably used about a cup.
and a spoonful of full-fat mayo. you don’t need much.
you can add garlic cloves, but i’m using a paste. because lazy.
remove the excess moisture from your jarred roasted red pepper. we don’t need that extra wetness. heh.
toss them in.
throw in some fresh herb. i’m using parsley. basil, dill, or cilantro would work fine.
transfer the dip to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge while you do everything else.
cod is notoriously wet, so make sure you remove as much moisture as you can. just blot it to death with a bunch of paper towels. we don’t want this fish too wet or our coating will get soggy later. no bueno.
nice and dry — well, as dry as we can get it.
start to cut your filet into even chunks. mine is whole, so i’m going halfway down the center and stopping before i get to the flatter end of it…
then slice it into even chunks crosswise. like this.
throw the chunks into a bowl, add some kosher or sea salt.
and some black pepper.
and maybe some crushed red pepper? no? wimp.
toss evenly to coat.
set up a 3-bowl dredging station. add plain AP flour to one, 2 beaten eggs to another…
make sure it’s fully coated, and dunk off the excess.
here’s where it gets messy…dip the floured fish into the eggs…
making sure it’s fully coated.
and it gets even messier. finally, coat the flour’y/eggy fish into the seasoned panko. coating it thoroughly.
be gentle, you don’t wanna knock off everything you’ve done.
once it’s coated, make sure it’s pressed into the fish, just to be on the safe side.
set aside and do all the other pieces. hey guess what? you don’t have to do chunks (i realize i’m telling you that too late in the instructions, but hopefully you’ll read this before you get to the bottom of the page where the recipe is?). you can leave these pieces bigger if you’d like, cooking time will vary and so will oven temperature. just a heads up. ok let’s proceed…
Ok, so check this out right…you do NOT have to use a wired baking rack for this. if you don’t have one or don’t feel like cleaning one, just lay the fish directly onto the foil-lined baking sheet. i promise you it will not matter. but if you are gonna use a baking rack, make sure you spray it with non-stick cooking spray, or these will be a bitch to remove later.
drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil onto each piece, this will just help give the outside some moisture, flavor, and added crunch. you could also just spray them with an olive oil or coconut oil spray. i didn’t have any, so i drizzled.
you don’t need much.
bake these in the middle of your oven at 450 for 15-20 minutes. if your fish pieces are smaller, it won’t take as long. if your pieces are large, reduce the oven to 425 and maybe cook an additional 5-10 minutes. it will all depend on what you choose to do.
but you’ll know it’s done when they’re golden like this. or just take a piece and test it, like i did.
this is about to be so damn good!
before serving, squeeze some lemon juice over it, not too much, and tear up some herbs.
Make this with chicken or fish, any kind of fish you’d like — who am I to tell you what to do? Personally, this is the kind of meal I’d indulge in. It’s not fried, which is great. Also, the dipping sauce is primarily greek yogurt — which you can kinda go in on and not feel like a total fat ass. This entire dish is a win for the waistline (for the most part). Enjoy!
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust. Transfer to a smaller bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the cod
Slice your fish crosswise into chunks, evenly as possible so they call cook at the same rate. Toss them into a bowl with the salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.
For the dredging
Set up your station by putting the flour into one bowl, the beaten eggs into another, and the panko into a third bowl. Dip each piece of fish into the flour, knocking off any excess, then coat with eggs, letting the excess drip off. Finally, press into the panko and set aside until all pieces are coated. Place the coated fish into your fridge or freezer for about 10 minutes to allow the coating to set up and adhere better. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. If using a baking rack, spray the rack as well. Place each piece of fish on the baking rack or sheet, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Prep Time:20 mins
Cook Time:20 mins
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