Crispy fish sticks from scratch come together even more quickly than the frozen kind, which typically require about 25 minutes to bake. Making them yourself is fast and easy – you can use whatever kind of fish is available – and the result is ethereally crisp and tender, with no trace of freezer burn. Serve with tartar sauce for the grown-ups; ketchup for the kids.
Crispy Panko Fish Sticks
1 lb fresh whitefish filets, such as sole or cod
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper
1 large egg
cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or dry breadcrumbs
canola or mild vegetable oil, for cooking
Cut the whitefish lengthwise in half or into strips. Put the flour into a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Crack the egg into a second bowl and stir it with a fork. Place the Panko (or breadcrumbs) into a third bowl.
In a large, heavy skillet, heat about 1/4 inch of oil over medium-high heat as you start to coat the fish filets. Working with one or two at a time, douse each with flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, keeping one hand dry to prevent everything from getting too goopy. Place in the hot pan and cook until golden on one side then gently flip with tongs or a thin spatula. Cook until golden on the other side (it should only take a few minutes total) and then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.