Recipe Makeover: Fish Sticks

It was time to reclaim the pleasures of this frozen finger-food delight. By Sidney Fry, MS, RD

Fancy Fish Sticks Recipe
Photo: Image: Randy Mayor

View Recipe: Fancy Fish Sticks

This month's makeover question: Could we capture the real crunch appeal of those super-convenient frozen-aisle fish sticks but get them out of the nutrition doghouse? After all, your basic fried fish stick, dunked in tangy tartar sauce, can add up to about half a day's sodium allowance and half a day's saturated fat.

The answer is yes, and in our version you get delicious fresh-fish flavor that grown-ups will love. Our makeover starts with strips of meaty halibut, seasoned and breaded in a panko-pumpkinseed coating—the seeds add extra crunch and heart-healthy fats. The fish is then oven-baked on a lightly oiled, preheated pan to crispy perfection. Splashed with lime and served with a zesty rémoulade sauce, our fish sticks have 40% fewer calories, half the sodium, and double the crunch and flavor.

THE CLASSIC 
750 calories per serving
1,212mg sodium
9g saturated fat
Minced, processed fish
Prebreaded, soggy, and frozen
From deep fryer to freezer

THE MAKEOVER
425 calories per serving
597mg sodium
2.5g saturated fat
Fresh, sustainable fillets
Crispy, crunchy, and fresh
From oven to table

View Recipe: Fancy Fish Sticks

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  • Tips for Breading

    A lightly oiled, preheated pan ensures fried-like crunch. Turn the fish once for even crisping.

  • Recipe Makeover Tip One: Season Fish

    Season fish directly with salt. For less mess, assign one hand for the dry mixture and one for the wet mixture.

  • Recipe Makeover Tip Two: Flour Dusting

    A light flour dusting helps the egg mixture adhere to the fish. Shake off excess before dipping in egg.

  • Recipe Makeover Tip Three: Beer Egg Mixture

    The frothy beer keeps the egg mixture light and fluffy so the breading doesn't get gummy.

  • Recipe Makeover Tip Four: Panko Pumpkinseed Coating

    We use hearty panko and nutty pumpkinseeds for ultimate crunch.

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