Thursday, June 4, 2015

#HotSummerEats: Panko-Crusted Tilapia Sticks with Dipping Sauce

I don't think fish sticks are something that we often think of when it comes to summer food.  But here's where I'm coming from:  on the Victoria Day weekend, J and I went to visit Toledo and see friends.  On the Sunday night of said weekend, we had no plans; and so were left to our own devices. It was a gorgeous afternoon, and we went and played mini golf.  Then J asked what I wanted for dinner.
It was hot, and I was tired, and I told him that I would love to go somewhere and sit on a patio for dinner with a couple of nice drinks and scenery.  He suggested Webber's, a restaurant that his parents had loved, that was on the banks of the Maumee River, not far from the shores of Lake Erie.  So that is where we ended up.
The patio was lovely - we looked out over the water, I had some delicious berry sangria, and J was thrilled that the Lake Erie yellow perch was as good as he remembered.  He just wished that he'd ordered the shrimp cocktail as well - we could smell the cocktail sauce as they went by.
Fast forward to opening my box from the Sauceology Group:  one of the items included was Caribeque's Island Thyme spice mix.  One smell, and I knew what I wanted to make - fish sticks!
So, for those of us who can't sit on a deck overlooking the Maumee and eat perch, might I suggest these little beauties?
I present to you now from the May 2007 issue of Everyday Food, I present to you now Panko-Crusted Tilapia sticks with Dipping Sauce:

2 tilapia fillets, about 1 lb
1 large egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1 c panko
1 Tbsp seasoning salt (I used Caribeque's Island Thyme)
1 Tbsp oil
For the Dipping Sauce:
1/4 c mayonnaise
1 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped (I used Gourmet Garden's lightly dried parsley)
2 tsp prepared horseradish
1.  Preheat oven to 450.  In a shallow bowl, beat egg with salt and pepper.  In a second bowl, combine panko, seasoning salt, and oil.  Mix well.
2.  Cut the fillets in half down the centre line, then again lengthwise to both halves.  Cut the fish cross wise, to form 8 pieces from each fillet.  Dip fish in egg, and then in the panko, pressing to coat.  Place prepared fish on a baking sheet.
3.  Bake fish at 450F for 15 minutes, until done and golden in colour.  Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
4.  While the fish bakes, make the dipping sauce:  In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well.  Serve with fish sticks.

Adapted from Everyday Food, May 2007

I'm thinking Island Thyme is going to make many appearances this summer on our table.  It was delicious, and smelled so good in the panko.
The oiled crumbs made a great coating for the fish.  I found that it came together quickly, and by the time I made the dipping sauce and cooked broccoli in the microwave, the fish was done.
This dipping sauce may not look like much, but it really made the meal.  J said it was a cross between tartar sauce and cocktail sauce.  The horseradish was a nice bonus.  We finished all I made with out fish.
Dinner in 35!  So quick!  And perfect to eat, sitting by the pool, pretending you're on vacation.  Call me a wishful thinker.  That's better than delusional.

*Full Disclosure: I received both Caribeque Island Thyme and Gourmet Garden's lightly dried herbs in #HotSummerEats.  Fresh parsley and any seasoned salt would be useable in this recipe.  I received no additional compensation for this post; all comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.


  1. I always shudder when people say fish sticks with memories of the cardboard stuff my Mom would move from the freezer to the oven to the table on Fridays. Then I made my own, homemade version and the shuddering stopped. This recipe sounds like a great one. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I could seriously put that Island Thyme on everything! My husband asked for fish to be on the menu this week, too! Perfect.