"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Friday, June 11, 2010

Halibut Fish Sticks with Dill Caper Tartar Sauce

When most people hear the words "fish sticks" they think of those unidentifiable pieces of breaded fish that come packaged in a box and we heat up in the oven and eat with ketchup. I remember my mom heating up fish sticks and I loved them! We usually had them with ketcup, a side of steamed green peas and a warm loaf of San Francisco sourdough. For me, fish sticks out of a box is comfort food. So, taking it to the next level, I decided to make a healthier, maybe a slightly gourmet, version of fish sticks. And, since they are supposed to be served with tartar sauce, I did that too. I had some really great ingredients to work with: like my good friend's mom's homemade dill pickles! Fresh halibut. Honey panko crumbs. On a sunny Sunday some friends and I met for a picnic and I brought these fish sticks, some may call them fish nuggets due to their size, and tartar sauce. I will definitely be making these again and most likely in a larger quantity. The great part, is that these are super easy to make and healthy.

Halibut Fish Sticks with Dill Caper Tartar Sauce
(Adapted from recipe on epicurious.com)

For tartar sauce:
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 heaping tablespoons chopped dill pickles
1 tablespoon juice from dill pickle jar

For fish sticks:
2 pounds halibut fillets, cut into strips
2 cups honey panko
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed

1. For the tartar sauce, mix the ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
2. For the fish sticks: whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Pour the panko crumbs onto a shallow dish.  Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Douse the halibut strips in the egg mixture then generously coat with the panko. Place them on the pan and let cook until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side. Serve with tartar sauce.

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