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Do It Yourself Fish Sticks

Written By Pam Brandon and Anne-Marie Denicole On July 21, 2010

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Summertime and the livin’ is easy with this grown-up version of fish sticks that makes everyone feel like a kid again.    fish_sticks

Worlds away from their frozen counterparts, these fish sticks are coated in crispy Japanese panko bread crumbs (don’t substitute!). And picky eaters, rejoice—mild and moist tilapia is the perfect fish for just about everyone. After a quick dip in the panko, the sticks are baked in an extra-hot oven for maximum crispness.

A creamy herb-flecked sauce is our answer to ho-hum tartar sauce, and it whips up in minutes while the fish sticks bake. Pair the hot sticks with a cool salad for a quick, summer-perfect meal. Your only reason to open the freezer is popsicles for dessert.

Go Fish! Sticks

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds tilapia filets (about 4)
1 large egg, beaten
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Olive oil cooking spray

Herbed dipping sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon capers, chopped
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside.

Cut tilapia in half along the center line. Cut each half in half again, creating 4 pieces per filet. Place beaten egg in a wide, shallow bowl; combine panko, chopped dill, salt and pepper in a separate wide, shallow bowl.

Dip tilapia pieces into egg, shaking off excess. Dip into panko mixture, pressing until fully coated. Place fish onto prepared baking sheet. Spray generously with olive oil cooking spray. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

While fish bakes, make dipping sauce. Whisk together mayonnaise, dill, parsley, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

Serve hot fish sticks with dipping sauce and lemon wedges.

Diva confession: We always look for tilapia (tuh-LAH-pee-uh) that are farm raised in the U.S.  The sustainable, low-fat fish has a sweet taste and fine texture and cooks quickly.   Bake it, grill it, poach it – the mild flavor works well with almost any sauce.

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