I don’t make it a habit to cook “kid food”. Rather I try to expose my children to all sorts of cuisine but in a more kid-friendly kinda way. For example, I purposely make my curried chicken less spicy than I would personally like it so that the heat won’t be a turn off for them. And when I serve a unappealingly green vegetable like oh-so-dreaded spinach, I try to make it extra flavorful so that they can’t help but enjoy it.
However I am very lucky in that both of my kids like fish. My son loves clams steamed on the grill and is crazy for sautéed grouper. My daughter will devour shrimp cocktail (spicy sauce and all) and salmon burgers like the ship’s going down. Because they are so willing to eat whatever I make (well, most nights anyway) every now and then I treat them to an honest to goodness “kid meal”. Mac n’ cheese, chicken pot pie or… fish sticks. Not those minced white fish Gorton’s fisherman frozen numbers, but fresh fish fillets with a crispy (baked) coating served with a side of homemade tartar sauce.
These are super easy to make, kid-appealingly crunchy and just plain old delicious. I seriously think my husband and I enjoy fish stick night just as much as the kids. Seriously.
Easy, delicious, nutritious… That’s a home run in my book.
Baked Fish Sticks and Tartar Sauce
You can use any type of firm white fish for these fish sticks. Tilapia was on sale so that’s what I used, but Grouper and Cod work just as well.
1 lb. tilapia fillets
1 1/2 cups crushed corn flakes
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp. milk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. onion, minced
1 tbsp. dill pickle, minced
1 tsp. lemon juice
a pinch of chipotle chili pepper
- Preheat oven to 375°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In one bowl beat together the egg and milk. In another bowl mix together the crushed corn flakes, smoked paprika, butter, garlic powder and salt. In a third bowl place the flour.
- Cut the fish into 1″ wide sticks. Dredge the sticks (one at a time) in the flour, then in the egg mixture and then finally in the corn flakes, turning to coat all sides.
- Place the coated fish sticks on the prepared cookie sheet and bake until the fish is opaque and the corn flakes have begun to brown, 10-15 min.
- While the fish is in the oven mix up the tartar sauce. Stir together the mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, onion, pickle, lemon juice and chipotle powder. Chill until ready to use.
- When the fish is done serve with a puddle of tartar sauce and a squeeze of lemon.
*adapted from good things