Served with parsnip crisps, and homemade tartare sauce
There’s something about fish fingers that brings back childhood memories of simple, comforting meals that were easy to make and enjoyed by the whole family. But who said that these delicious treats have to be reserved just for kids? With a few simple ingredients and a little creativity, you can make your own delicious, homemade fish fingers in panko breadcrumbs. They’re simple, fun, and sure to please everyone!
Cod is the perfect fish for fish fingers
First, let’s talk about the star of the show: the cod. Cod is a mild-flavoured, flaky white fish that’s perfect for fish fingers. When selecting your fish, look for fillets that are firm, fresh, and sustainably sourced. The fish will be coated in panko breadcrumbs, so you want to ensure that it is not too thin, or too thick.
For the breadcrumbs, I recommend using panko breadcrumbs, which are a Japanese-style breadcrumb. Panko breadcrumbs are lighter and have a crispier finish than traditional breadcrumbs. You can find them at most supermarkets and grocery stores. You’ll also find them in any good oriental food shops. Don’t worry if you can’t find them, though – you can always make your own, by toasting slices of bread and then crushing them into fine crumbs.
Homemade fish fingers are easy to make
To make the fish fingers, start by cutting your cod fillets into strips, about 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide. Coat them in sifted flour, shaking off any excess. Dip each strip into beaten egg, and then liberally coat them in the panko breadcrumbs, pressing the breadcrumbs onto the fish to ensure that they stay stuck.
You can deep fry them, but I find it’s best to shallow fry and simply turn them during cooking. You’ll need enough cooking oil to cover about half the depth of the fish fingers.
Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, and add sunflower, vegetable, or groundnut oil. Once the oil is hot (test by adding a small amount of panko), add the fish fingers and cook for around 3 minutes on each side, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the fish is cooked through. Remove the fish fingers from the pan and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil. You may need to cook your fish fingers in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. So for best results, warm your oven. Simply pop the cooked fish fingers on a plate in the oven to keep them warm, while you finish of the rest of the dish. When you’re ready to serve, garnish with fresh dill, and serve with wedges of lemon.
Parsnip crisps – a great alternative to chips
Now, let’s talk about the sides. For many people, fish fingers bring back memories of them being served with boring oven chips, or perhaps mashed potato. When I was growing up they were nearly always served with smash, and boiled peas. Not very inspiring! So, let’s make our homemade fish fingers dish a little more elegant, and sophisticated! For a crunchy, flavourful, and slightly healthier alternative to chips (great as they are) I suggest making parsnip crisps. They’re super easy, and really tasty.
First, peel a couple of large parsnips, top and tail them, and then cut them in half. Next, using a mandolin – or even, a potato peeler (that’s what I do) – slice them very finely lengthwise, so you end up with a mass of really thin, parsnip strips.
In a large frying pan, heat fresh oil (I don’t recommend using the same oil as you used to cook the fish fingers) over a medium high heat. In batches, fry the parsnip strips until they turn golden brown. They won’t need long – around 30 seconds to a minute. Fish them out as they cook, using a slotted spoon, or tongs, and place them onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain. When they’re all cooked, transfer to a warmed bowl, and season with sea salt. The result is sweet, crispy delights that will melt in your mouth!
Homemade tartare sauce – the perfect accompaniment
Finally, no fish fingers are complete without a delicious tartare sauce. While you can certainly use shop-bought tartare sauce, making your own is easy and tastes so much better. Mix together mayonnaise, chopped cornichons, capers, lemon juice, and finely-chopped fresh dill for a tangy, creamy sauce that complements the fish perfectly.
Fish fingers are a classic family favourite that are both fun and easy to make. With a few simple ingredients, you can make your own homemade cod fish fingers, coated in delightfully crispy panko breadcrumbs. They’re perfect for any occasion. Serve them with a side salad, parsnip crisps and a homemade tartare sauce for a meal that will transport you back to childhood, but without reminding you of school dinners!
Homemade fish fingers
For the fish fingers
- 200 g Cod fillets
- 150 ml Sunflower oil Or vegetable oil
- 50 g Plain flour For dredging
- 100 g Panko breadrumbs
- 1 Egg Beaten
For the parsnip crisps
- 2 Large parsnips Peeled and very finely sliced
- 100 ml Sunflower oil Or vegetable oil
- 1 pinch Salt
For the tartare sauce
- 70 g Mayonnaise
- 2 tsp Lemon juice Freshly squeezed
- 10 g Cornichons Chopped
- 2 tsp Capers Chopped
- 5 g Fresh dill Finely chopped
For the fish fingers
- Slice the cod fillets into finger-shaped chunks
- Sift the flour onto a plate
- Pour the panko breadcrumbs onto a plate
- Beat one egg in a bowl or shallow dish
- Line everything up, ready to coat your fish fingers
- For each piece of fish, dredge it in flour to coat it, dip it in the beaten egg, then coat well with panko breadcrumbs. Set the fish aside. The end result should be a plate of well-coated fish pieces, ready for frying
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Test when the oil is ready for cooking by dropping in a small amount of panko breadcrumbs – they should float, and start to brown after a few seconds
- Carefully place your fish fingers in the oil and cook them off in batches. The oil should reach about half way up each piece of fish, so turn them over half way through cooking, about 3 minutes per side. Drain the cooked fish on a plate with a piece of kitchen towel, then transfer to a warmed oven to keep them warm
- To serve, place your cooked fish fingers on a warmed plate, garnished with fresh dill and served with wedges of lemon
For the parsnip crisps
- Peel and half the parsnips
- Using a mandolin, or a potato peeler, finely slice the parsnips into strips
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan
- In batches, carefully fry the parsnip slices until golden brown. About 30 seconds.
- Transfer to a bowl or plate lined with kitchen towel, to drain the excess fat
- To serve, place the crisps in a warmed bowl or plate, and season with a pinch of sea salt
For the tartare sauce
- In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients
- Garnish with a sprig of fresh dill, and serve