Today is day twenty-one of the Lenten Season, the forth Friday of Lent. I cannot think of Lenten Fridays without remembering those torturous Friday nights of my youth.
Question – did you grow up Catholic in a Pre-Vatican household? If you come from an American Catholic Family growing up in the 1950s and 60s, then you know what Fridays meant – fish sticks. I’m not even sure what part of the fish a stick comes from. Talk about penance! Kids today think they suffer with fish sticks. At least today you can recognized the flaky white stuff inside as some form of fish. I think way back then it was minced or diced or pressed together and made from all the parts of a fish no one in their right minds would eat. I’m not sure what I resented more; the idea of yet another Friday eating fish sticks or the fact that when my mom made fish sticks, my brother got to eat Chocolate Cupcakes with butter. Why? He was a picky eater and the rules weren’t the same for him, the only male offspring in the house. Chocolate Cupcakes were meatless, so the abstinence on Fridays still applied. He got to eat those same cupcakes when we ate tuna fish or egg salad sandwiches. The only time he ate what his sisters ate was when we ate Mac and Cheese. That meant my brother was having cupcakes for dinner three out of four Fridays a month. While I wasn’t a fan of those frozen sticks for dinner, I did learn to eat fish. And that’s a good thing. A very good thing indeed.
Friday Night Fish Sticks
3/4 lb Cod Fillets
1/2 cup all-purpose Flour
1 large Egg, beaten
1/2 cup Dry Bread Crumbs
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Lemon-Pepper Seasoning
Butter-flavored cooking spray
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Lay fillets out on a cutting board. Cut into 1-inch wide by about 3-inches long sticks. Set aside.
Spread flour over a paper plate for dredging. Set aside. This is the first “breading” station.
In a shallow bowl, lightly beat egg. Set aside. This is the second “breading” station.
In another shallow bowl or paper plate, mix breadcrumbs with salt, paprika and lemon-pepper seasoning. Set aside. This is the final “breading” station.
Place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
Dip fish sticks into the flour to coat both sides, shaking off excess flour. Dip into the beaten egg, allowing excess to drip back into the bowl, then roll in the crumb mixture, patting gently to help coating adhere to the fish. Place on the wire rack and repeat until all the sticks have been breaded.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until fish just begins to flake easily with a fork, turning once.
1 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Ketchup
Black Pepper to taste
While the fish sticks are baking, mix mayonnaise and ketchup together in a small bowl. Season with pepper. Set aside.
Serve fish sticks with mayonnaise mixture for dipping.
Lemon rounds and a simple green salad are always a welcome touch.