Fish sticks are a great way to use any white meat fish fillets that may have on hand, even those they may have spent too much time in the freezer. In this case, we used white bass caught the previous summer and the finished product is still great. Video of this recipe is here.
If your fillets are frozen, partially thaw and rinse them. If they are fresh, chill them until they are almost, but not quite, frozen. This recipe is built for about a pound of fillets and is best prepared in a cast iron skillet.
With a very sharp knife, slice chilled fillets in thin strips. Then turn strips the other way and mince them thoroughly. (Cheat: if you’re cooking at home, chunk fillets up and pulse a couple of times in a food processor, being careful to not over process).
Place minced fish in a large bowl. Add about a tablespoon each of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise, a heavy pinch each of kosher salt and onion powder, a light pinch each of black pepper and cayenne pepper, and a beaten egg. Lightly mix that all together, then add about a half cup of Panko bread crumbs and mix by hand or with a wooden spoon. This mixture can now be formed into bun-sized patties or fish sticks…your choice. Lay each formed piece on wax paper on a cookie sheet and chill in a cooler on ice or your freezer for about 30 minutes so they firm up for easy handling.
After chilling, dust each fish patty with seasoned flour, then dip in a beaten egg, then coat evenly with seasoned Panko…a typical three step breading process. Set aside on wax paper covered cookie sheet.
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and add about 1/4” of oil. We prefer to use a 50/50 mix of once used oil and new oil for good flavor and browning. When the oil begins to shimmer, carefully place each fish patty/stick in the pan. Allow them to cook for about two minutes until the edges begin to brown. Carefully flip each piece and allow to cook for another couple of minutes until they brown. Remove from skillet, place on a cooling rack or piece of brown paper bag and immediately sprinkle them lightly with kosher salt. Serve with a lemon wedge and some tarter sauce for dipping if you made sticks. Patties go great on a soft bun, burger style; spread a bit of mayo on the bun bottom, then a thin layer of lettuce, a patty, a slice of American cheese, and a thin slice of tomato. Lightly mayo the top bun and viola…tasty fish sandwich.
This recipe was prepared on a Camp Chef Pro 90X stove and 12″ cast iron skillet. The coolers are OtterBox Venture 45 hard cooler and Trooper 20 soft cooler.