This was a true Comfort Food that evoked many childhood memories, but with fresher fish and better ingredients.
The key here is Panko: Japanese bread crumbs. Pretty easy to find (with all of the other breadcrumbs at your local grocery stores) and even easier to use (they are larger breadcrumbs so they hold in a lot of flavor). It’s the Panko that makes these sticks more chunky and flavorful. Also, the grated lemon zest and thyme give the coating a really fresh kick that goes well with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce or whatever you condiment choice may be.
We used Halibut, but you can really use any hearty white fish – cod, pacific snapper, you name it. We used about 1 lb of fish for 2-3 people.
The first step is to cut the fish into “sticks.” Maybe 1″ wide by 3″ long. Sprinkle them with salt and paper on both sides and set aside for a moment.
In a wide bowl, combine: about 1-1/2 cups of Panko (breadcrumbs), about 1 Tbsp fresh thyme (the leaves stripped from the stem with your fingers), 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp grated lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Mix together well.
In another bowl, large enough to hold all of your fish sticks, whisk together x2 egg whites, and 1/3 cup dark ale (or other full flavored beer). Place all your cut fish sticks into this bowl and let sit for a few minutes (or up to an hour if you want to deepen some of the flavor, depending on the beer you’re using).
Pulling one stick at a time out of the egg/beer mixture, gently coat each stick with your Panko/herb mixture and place on a plate.
Meanwhile, heat 3 Tbsp olive oil and 1-2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium high heat – make sure it gets hot, but not too hot – it’s better for these to cook just a bit more over time rather than flash fry. Medium-high heat is ok.
Place the sticks in the heated oil/butter about 2-3 mins per side, or until they are golden. Let drain on a papertowel, (add some additional salt & pepper if you wish) and serve warm. Goes great with steamed broccoli, asparagus or even brussels.
Feels like summertime at a local fish shack.