My nephew was born two and one-half years ago. My husband and I received the call late one Friday night that he was finally here, and we rushed ourselves to the hospital as fast as we possibly could (stopping for some cigars and blue onsies along the way). After nine months of anticipation of his arrival (well, eight months for us), it was astonishing to finally meet him, and hold him in our arms when he was just a couple hours old.
We have had the privilege to be involved in his life over these past couple years, and to see him at least every two weeks. It has been a blessing to be able to be so close to him, and now to his little sister as well. He has become quite the talker lately, and has always been quite the eater!
My sister gave him homemade baby food from the start, and at such a young age, he has quite an impressive palate! (He has also since discovered chocolate, and I’ll blame his mother’s Nutella pregnancy cravings for his chocoholism!) Despite his sweet tooth, he enjoys healthy foods like vegetables and fruits. He also really enjoys dipping foods in sauces. He can be mesmerized for over an hour dipping his food into ketchup.
This first time I had Parmesan Fish Sticks was at my sister’s house. This was another fun food for my nephew to dip. I had seen Giada make these on Everyday Italian, but hadn’t tried them yet myself. My sister makes them rather frequently, and she just reminded me about them a couple weeks ago. I always have salmon fillets in my freezer, eggs and Parmigiano Reggiano in my refrigerator, and bread crumbs in my pantry – this is a no-brainer!
There is a little bit of prep involved, with slicing and coating the salmon, but baking the salmon gives it a healthy preparation while have the textural crunch of a fried fish. (And I actually sprayed the salmon with cooking spray instead of drizzling with olive oil, to make it even healthier.) Well this recipe not only impresses my little nephew, but also his “Unc” – my husband loved them too. I made the dipping sauce in the recipe, but I don’t think it was worth it. I actually enjoyed them plain, and also grabbed a little Hidden Valley Ranch dressing from my refrigerator, which I found to be a better pairing. Next time I may try pesto and/or marinara with them.
Parmesan Fish Sticks
(From Giada's Kitchen)
* 1 (18-ounce) center-cut salmon fillet, about 9 by 4 inches, skinned
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 3 egg whites
* 1 cup grated Parmesan
* 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
* Olive oil, for drizzling
* 1/3 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
* 1/3 cup lowfat plain yogurt
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or chives
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Rinse the salmon fillet and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the fish in half to make 2 fillets each about 4 by 4 ½ inches in size. Starting on the longest edge, slice the fillets into ½ inch pieces. Lay the widest pieces, from the center, cut side down, and slice in half lengthways so all the pieces are equally about ½ by 1/2 by 4 ½ inches in size.
Place the flour in a medium bowl and season with the salt and pepper. Place the egg whites in another bowl and beat until frothy, about 30 seconds. Combine the Parmesan and bread crumbs in a third bowl.
Coat the salmon pieces in the seasoned flour and pat to remove any excess flour. Dip the floured salmon in the egg whites and then into the Parmesan mixture, gently pressing the mixture into the fish. Place the breaded salmon pieces on a liberally oiled baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with the olive oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
For the Dipping Sauce:
Mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, Dijon mustard, and parsley (or chives, if using) in a small dipping bowl.
Arrange the fish sticks on a serving platter and serve with the dipping sauce.
Cook's Note: The fish sticks can also be dipped in ketchup, marinara sauce, pesto, ranch dressing or vinaigrette.