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We can’t lie: we were a little nervous to tackle seafood since it seems that no matter what you say about feeding kids fish, someone has a hard eye roll. But by now, you know there are no magic answers — just tons of ideas for how to serve fish to kids. And good thing we have no shortage of those.
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Chicken of the Sea
From the language you use to describe fish flavors to thinking about texture, freshness and use, we’ve got tons of ideas for how to normalize seafood on your table.
Maybe the kids will bite right away, but even if they don’t, exposing them to the smells, tastes, and textures of seafood will eventually build into a tolerance — and maybe even appreciation! — for fish. Or at least, that’s the best you can do, which we say is good enough.
Here are the recipes and links mentioned in this week’s episode:
Our IG Live where we brainstorm ways to use canned salmon
Brian’s Tuna Melt recipe
Temaki Hand Rolls using canned tuna (this version is low-carb, but just add sushi rice for a more classic version!)
Bottarga! That’s what the dried block of fish roe is called; delicious shaved over fresh pasta like you would hard cheese
Quick and Easy Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw (using fish sticks!)
Seafoodwatch.org (you can get the app from there or just search Seafood Watch in the app store)
Other DIJFY Episodes You’ll Love
If you loved this episode, we think you’ll also love these past episode. Binge listen, activate!
These are some of our favorite products mentioned in this episode:
American Tuna pole caught wild albacore
Wild Planet canned fish
Melissa Clark’s favorite canned anchovies
Our fave sardines
Bonito flakes (that we love because one pack is comprised of a bunch of smaller vacuum sealed packs)
Get Social With Us
Be sure to join our private Listener’s Group on Facebook (our favorite cocktail is WHISKEY — you’ll understand when you try to join). This week, we’re going to collect all the ways that your family eats (maybe even enjoys?) seafood.
And of course, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
You can also find us at @didntijustfeed you on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. And if you happen to love us as much as we love you (because y’all are very real), you can find Meghan as @meghan_splawn and Stacie as @staciebillis on Instagram.
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Classic Fish Sticks + Quickie Tartar Sauce
Plus 4 Tips for Making Them Perfect!
It’s no surprise that the most effective way to serve kids fish is to bread it and turn it golden brown. Honestly, that’s the most effective way to serve nearly anything to nearly anybody! We’re all in support of buying the frozen kind from the store, but if you’re so inclined, making fish sticks yourself (and even freezing them so that you can have them on-hand the way you do the store-bought kind) is not that hard to do. Here’s the deal.
Choose fish that won’t fall apart:
* Use a firm white fish filet; cod is our favorite. More delicate fish, like flounder, will fall apart. Ask us how we know.
Coat your fish without a huge mess:
* This isn’t a make or break tip, but it sure does help: Begin by dipping all of the fish strips in flour. Do not dip any of them in the egg wash or breadcrumbs until every single one has been coated with flour. Then, and only then, move each piece of fish, one by one, through the rest of the breading process. This helps prevent your hands from getting complete matted and clumped in coating.
Get a perfectly golden brown crust:
* Be sure to toss your breadcrumbs with a little bit of oil before you coat your fish sticks to get a crispy, golden brown coating. Even coating the already breaded sticks with a quick spray of oil doesn’t get the job done the same way.
* Bake the sticks on a rack. This allows you to achieve an even golden brown coating all around. It also keeps the fish from sticking to the pan… or parchment paper… or silpat… or aluminum foil. We’ve tried them all and a rack is your best bet, hands down.
30-Minute Classic Fish Sticks
1/2 cup flour
Salt & freshly ground pepper
2 cups plain panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano)
Zest of 1 lemon
Old Bay seasoning, to taste (optional)
1 1/2 lbs firm white fish filet such as cod
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a baking rack on top of a parchment lined baking sheet (the parchment is optional, but helps make clean up a snap) and spray the rack with cooking spray; set aside. Add flour, salt, and pepper to a wide shallow bowl or large plate and gently toss with your fingers to combine; set aside. Whisk eggs in a separate wide shallow bowl; set aside. Combine panko, olive oil, thyme, oregano, zest and Old Bay in a third wide shallow bowl or large plate and toss with your fingers to combine; set aside.
2. Cut the fish into wide strips. Dredge each piece, one by one, in the seasoned flour, tapping to remove excess flour. Set each floured piece of fish on a cutting board or plate while you finish flouring each one. Once every piece has been floured, take each fish stick through the rest of the breading process: dip each one into egg wash and then immediately into seasoned breadcrumbs, making sure to press the breadcrumbs onto the fish to coat thoroughly. Set each breaded fish stick on the prepped baking rack and repeat until they are all coated.
3. Place coated fish sticks in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown all around. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 2 or 3 minutes before serving.
Quickie Tartar Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sweet relish
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Hearty quirt of sriracha (optional)
1. Using a fork or whisk, combine all ingredients except sriracha in a bowl until the mayo is smooth. If some eaters want a spicy sauce, set aside a non-spicy portion and then add sriracha to taste. Mix well to combine. Serve immediately or save in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.