Once in a blue moon, I jones for a nostalgic dinner from my childhood. Like Annie’s boxed mac & cheese…but cooked to the point where the cheese sauce dries up. Mom always made overcooked, dried dinners and I grew up to like them that way (not the best when your in the cooking industry…).
These fish sticks are not as crunchy and dry as the Gorton’s brand my Mom would make. They’re light, moist, and sprinkled all over with Coconut Rum Seasoning! I like to think Jack Sparrow would eat these during a stop in Tortuga. Ideally for breakfast after a long night of drinking rum (hair of dog, right?).
The panko makes a super light, crispy coating when fried, but breadcrumbs will get you closer to the texture of childhood fish sticks we all know and love. You can bake these in a 400F oven, but the breading doesn’t get as satisfyingly crispy. The shredded coconut is optional because the coconut rum seasoning will lend plenty of coconut flavor.
~*~ COCONUT RUM FISH STICKS ~*~
SERVES: 4 ⎪ DIFFICULTY: INTERMEDIATE | FUN: CASUAL
Mise en Place
1 pound cod filets, sliced into strips
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups plain panko or breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons coconut rum seasoning, plus more for seasoning
vegetable or canola oil
1. SET UP THE ASSEMBLY LINE
Pour flour in to a shallow bowl or baking dish. Beat the eggs with 1 teaspoon of water in another shallow bowl or baking dish. Last, combine panko, shredded coconut, and rum seasoning into a separate bowl or dish. Arrange the bowls: flour, egg, and panic, from left to
*TIP* An easy way to remember the order is the month February. FEB, means Flour, Eggs, & Breadcrumbs.
2. BREAD THE FISH
Pat the fish dry and lightly seasoning the fish with coconut rum seasoning. Working in batches, coat the fish in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Next, dredge in the eggs and allow excess to drip off. Finally, coat and press in the panko. Transfer to the plate or baking dish.
MAKE AHEAD: You can bread and chill the fish sticks in the fridge 2 days ahead. Or place in a ziplock bag and freeze for 3-4 months. You can fry the fish sticks straight from frozen.
3. FRY THE FISH
Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the fish on all sides until golden brown. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and seasoning with more coconut rum.
Serve immediately, or place fish sticks in a 250F oven to keep warm until serving. Eat with preferred dipping sauce and lemon wedges.
~*~ SHRIMP VARIATION ~*~
Replace cod with 1 pound frozen shrimp. Thaw and rinse the shrimp, removing any bits of shell or vein. Pat dry and proceed with Step 1.
~*~ GF VARIATION ~*~
Replace panko with gluten-free breadcrumbs.
How would you use Coconut Rum Seasoning? Let me know what you’ve cooked and leave a comment below.