Rick and I scored some awesome Pacific cod at the Farmer’s Market last week. We got into a discussion of the fish sticks we used to eat as children. They were considered a treat in both our homes. As a young married woman and later a single mother, I relied on fish sticks to feed my family. I cringe now at the “orange meal” of fish sticks, corn and mac ‘n cheese or fries.
Right then and there, I remembered a recipe I’d pinned for coconut crusted chicken tenders and decided to try coconut crusted cod. A grownup fish stick, so to speak.
Rick wasn’t very enthusiastic. If you’ve ever fried fish indoors you’ll understand why. As a compromise, I agreed to try frying them on the grill. It worked out pretty well, but we were running low on gas so I don’t think the oil got as hot as it could have.
I used gluten free ingredients, but there’s no reason you couldn’t use regular flour and include bread crumbs if you prefer.
- 1 pound cod or other firm fleshed white fish, cut into portions a little larger than thumb sized
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (optional)
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut
- salt and pepper to taste
- oil for frying
- Set up a breading station. Coconut milk, rice flour, beaten egg, coconut. (In retrospect I could have beaten the coconut milk with the eggs or omitted it altogether)
- Season the rice flour with salt and pepper.
- Dip each fish portion in coconut milk, then rice flour, then beaten egg. Finally roll in coconut and set aside.
- Prepare your pan for frying by adding enough oil to come about halfway up the sides of the fish. (If using the grill, make sure your skillet can take the heat. I’m using a paella pan in the photo. Cast iron would be a great choice, too).
- When the oil is hot, add the fish sticks, taking care not to crowd the pan. Work in batches if needed.
- Cook for a couple minutes on each side. You can tell when to turn the pieces as the coconut will turn a nice brown and you’ll see the fish turning opaque as the flesh cooks.
I served mine with a peach salsa (diced peaches, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice) but my son used sriracha on his pieces.
Next time I make these, I’m going to try baking them. If I recall from the store bought fish stick days, it should be 450° for 15 – 20 minutes.
Do you like fish? What are your favorite kinds?