Fish and Chips
Several years ago, I spent the summer in London as part of a study abroad program. It was amazing! It was my second time visiting the UK, and I just fell in love with the city. It has been my dream ever since to go back, and I would love to live there one day (though I highly doubt that will ever happen given the difference in cost of living between where I am and pretty much anywhere exciting but a girl can dream lol). The trip was a pivotal part of my growing up process as it was the first time I was away from home and out on my own. I had homesick moments, of course, but for the most part, I loved every minute. My only regret, many years later, is that I didn’t experiment more with the different foods available there! I was not a foodie in any sense of the word. In fact, I think I ate more fish and chips than anything else combined. That and cereal or other non-perishables we would pick up from Asda (like a Wal-Mart). Once we actually went to a Pizza Hut. Who goes to another country and eats at Pizza Hut?? I mean, seriously, what were we thinking?? The foodie in me is kicking my younger self.
That being said, I now have very high expectations for fish and chips. I’ve yet to have anything that comes even close to the the quality I got from random street cars around the city. To be fair, I haven’t tried often since being home. At this point it’s probably more about nostalgia than taste, the way some people look back on their grandma’s pie or mom’s meatloaf; nothing can compare to that. Plus, the only way I was able to get away with eating so much fried food was by walking countless miles every day so it’s definitely more of a splurge than an everyday occurrence in my day-to-day life.
But what if it doesn’t have to be a splurge? What if there was some way to enjoy fish and chips without all the grease and friedness? I wasn’t sure I could buy into that idea, but when I cam across this recipe for Baked Fish Sticks, I figured it was worth a shot. I used tilapia because it was on sale, but I do think the recipe would have been better with cod or halibut though you could use really any white fish. Since I wasn’t using a full pound, I scaled the recipe some (about 2/3 the original), and I think I ended up scaling too far back on the seasonings. Next time I would use the full amount of seasonings because while I got hints of flavor, overall it was a little bland. The coating was perfect though. Nice and crunchy, just like the fried version, but no grease in sight. The best part? They were ready in 10 minutes (20 if you include prep). For the chips, or fries as we call them, I modified a version I found on cooks.com. They turned out fantastic! Definitely the best potatoes I’ve made in a while. I mistakenly grabbed yellow/gold potatoes so they had a bit of a sweetness to them that I would prefer not to have next time, but they cooked up great. I wish the fries didn’t take so long to cook because then this would be a really quick meal, but I was able to prep everything for the fish after putting the fries in so it did all come together easily.
Is there a recipe or food that you associate with a specific event or time in your life?
Fish and Chips
For the Oven Fries:
4 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp paprika
1 1/2 lbs uncooked potato, about 3 small, scrubbed and sliced lengthwise
Mix first 5 ingredients together in a large plastic container with lid or ziplock bag. Add potato slices, seal, and toss to coat. Lay potatoes on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then flip fries over to allow browning on both sides. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes, or until almost done.
Once the potatoes are in the oven, start preparing the fish.
For the Baked Fish Sticks:
12 oz raw tilapia, about 4 small fillets
1 item egg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/3 cup whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet in cooking spray, and set aside.
Crack egg into a shallow dish and beat lightly. In a separate shallow dish combine flour, seasoned salt, pepper, and paprika. In one more shallow dish combine panko and bread crumbs.
Cut fish into sticks about 3-4 inches long and 1/2-1 inch tall.
Working with a few pieces of fish at at time, dredge first in flour and then shake off excess. Then dip each piece in the beaten egg, and finally the bread crumb mixture. Make sure all sides are well coated with bread crumbs and then place fish on the baking sheet.
Once fries are almost done (after about 35 minutes), remove them from the oven and set aside. Turn oven to 450 degrees.
Place fish in oven and cook for about 10 minutes. Put the potatoes back in the oven for about 5 minutes to finish cooking.