Sunday, April 08, 2012

Parmesan Fish Sticks!

Hello friends, it's been a while.

Yes, I know every time I update my blog I say I'll update more often, cook more recipes, blah blah blah, and then, poof, I don't update for almost two months. And I could easily blame it on being a single mom, working too much, or exhaustion from taking care of a 2 and-a-half year old kid; or the fact that I injured my back (that's a true story) and was out of commission for almost two weeks. And yes parts of these are true, but mainly I've just been lazy posting my recipes and pics. I've actually accumulated many recipes, I've been cooking and canning (yes, canning!) a lot and I have a 4GB SD card full of food porn, but it's just finding the time to post, write a bit, and upload my pics. Yes, I know it's simple to blog, it's easy to upload pictures, but I just didn't want to turn this into a generic recipe site where there's no story. No history. No drama like this mama's!!!!

So I have this love-hate relationship with Giada De Laurentiis--well, so I seem to think I do. At first I didn't like her because she had such a nice rack but, oh that forehead and those teeth just didn't do it for me! But then I realized I was just jealous of her fabulous life, and that she's maintained her figure after she had her daughter, and yes, well, her rack is still there. THEN one day my Pops made panna cotta for the family and it was fabulous! It was creamy, not too sweet and oh, so freakin' delicious. And all of us, the childrens, asked, "where did you get this recipe?" What do you think my Pop's said?
"From Giada's cookbook!"
I think that day I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

So, I have surrendered to Giada; but not surrendered to her as "celebrity chef," but as a busy mom who is a pretty good recipe writer and a very good cook. I hate to say this, but her recipes are easy to medium and they tend to be good for you, too. UGH!
I had recalled I watched an episode where Giada made salmon fish sticks for her daughter (or her nieces, I don't remember) but the recipe seemed incredibly simple and easy, and for crissakes IT IS!!! I made these on Good Friday because, even though I'm not a practicing Catholic, the Catholic guilt is still embedded in me. And you know what? My little girl loved it! Yes, I did cheat a little and I gave my daughter reduced-sugar ketchup instead of Giada's "sour cream-mayo-mustard" dipping sauce, but the fact Stella ate salmon was incredible for me. Also, I followed the recipe to the "T", however I did not bake my fish sticks (it was 80 degrees here in San Diego) so I pan-fried them in extra-virgin olive oil instead. I have to say, I was impressed. Bravo, Giada. Bravo (golf claps).

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 to 6)
  • 1 (18-ounce) center-cut salmon fillet, about 9 by 4 inches, skinned
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
Dipping Sauce
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or chives

For the Fish Sticks:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Rinse the salmon fillet and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the fish in half to make 2 fillets each about 4 by 4 1/2-inches in size. Starting on the longest edge, slice the fillets into 1/2-inch pieces. Lay the widest pieces, from the center, cut side down, and slice in half lengthways so all the pieces are equally about 1/2 by 1/2 by 4 1/2-inches in size.

Place the flour in a medium bowl and season with the salt and pepper. Place the egg whites in another bowl and beat until frothy, about 30 seconds. Combine the Parmesan and bread crumbs in a third bowl.

Coat the salmon pieces in the seasoned flour and pat to remove any excess flour. Dip the floured salmon in the egg whites and then into the Parmesan mixture, gently pressing the mixture into the fish. Place the breaded salmon pieces on a liberally oiled baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with the olive oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

Note: you can pan fry the fish in olive oil or vegetable oil, for about 1 minute per side. Also, you can substitute with Tilapia or Cod, for milder tasting fish.
For the Dipping Sauce:

Mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, Dijon mustard, and parsley (or chives, if using) in a small dipping bowl.

Cook's Note: The fish sticks can also be dipped in ketchup, marinara sauce, pesto, ranch dressing or vinaigrette .