Fish Sticks With Peas
Two childhood classics — fish sticks and green peas — find their rightful place back at the dinner table for eaters of all ages to enjoy in this wholesome weeknight meal. The fish stick, coined “the ocean’s hot dog” by the historian Joseph Peterson, was first manufactured by Gorton’s, the Massachusetts seafood company, in 1953. It soon became popular as a tasty and effortless family meal for Americans wary of cooking fresh fish at home. The key to flavorful homemade fish sticks is to season them well every step of the way. Here, turmeric provides the nostalgic yellow tint while adding a warm, earthy flavor to meaty cod fillets (or any firm white fish). The accompanying peas get a lift from tangy lemon zest and fresh mint, and red-pepper flakes provide just enough heat to liven up your taste buds and dinner plates. Serve with lemon wedges, and tartar sauce for dipping.
- Serves: 4 persons
- ¼cup all-purpose flour
- ½teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛teaspoon garlic powder
- Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
- 2large eggs
- 1cup bread crumbs (regular or panko)
- 1 ½pounds skinless cod fillet (about 1-inch thick)
- ¼cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- Lemon wedges and tartar sauce, for serving
- 3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3medium garlic cloves, finely grated
- ½teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Red-pepper flakes, to taste
- 1pound frozen green peas
- Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- ¼cup roughly chopped mint leaves
Step 1Prepare your dredging station and make the fish sticks: Place the flour, turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper on a large plate; stir to combine. In a pie plate or shallow bowl, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water and sprinkle with a little salt. Place the bread crumbs and 3/4 teaspoon salt on another large plate and stir to combine. Place a baking sheet beside you.
Step 2Dry the fish well with paper towels. Season the fish with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch strips. Dredge each piece of fish in the seasoned flour (shaking of any excess flour), then in the egg, then in the bread crumbs; place breaded fish pieces on the baking sheet.
Step 3Pan-fry the fish sticks: In a large (12-inch) pan, heat the oil over medium-high. (To bake the fish sticks, see Tip.) When the oil is hot but not smoking, reduce the heat to medium and fry the fish sticks on all four sides until golden and crisped, about 4 minutes per side. You may need to do this in batches; add more oil if needed.
Step 4While the fish fries, prepare the peas: In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-low. Add the garlic and cook, stirring continuously until fragrant, about 2 minutes, taking care not to burn it. Add the lemon zest and some red-pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the peas and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, stir to combine, then cook for 1 minute in the lemony oil. Add 1/4 cup water, increase the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender but not mush and most of the water has been absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from the heat and stir in the mint.
Step 5Serve the fish sticks with the peas and tartar sauce, plus some lemon wedges to squeeze over the fish.