Press play for a quick demo
I have loved fish fingers ever since I was a kid, my mum always had a packet or five in the freezer for a quick and easy tea - fish fingers, mountain of mash and lots of peas (also from the freezer). Squish the lot onto a fork for a seriously great mouthful. Sometimes mum would add lemon juice to the mash - a great trick for accompaniments to fishy dishes - but that was pretty much the only fussing about that happened. Then about the time I was around ten or eleven there was a few weeks until we moved from the way out west town of Bourke back to the balmy seaside of Wollongong and so there was a mission to empty the freezer and pantry and eat the lot before leaving. I have no recollection of anything else we ate in those few weeks but I swear we ate fish fingers daily for a month. Sometimes for lunch, more often for dinner it was fish fingers, mash and peas. Fish fingers, lemon mash and peas once or twice then back to the original. The freezer had turned into the black hole of the kitchen and it was somehow filled with one hundred times its actual volume with fish fingers and peas - and we were not leaving till every single finger and every single pea had been consumed. Somehow we made it through, boarded our flights out and left that house behind along with Cliffy our lovely galah, over which many tears were shed. My dad followed us a week later, driving the car back across the 500 miles and, softy that he can be, brought Cliffy along for company. Jubilation!
It was a very long time till I ate another fish finger, about the time I left home and had to fend for myself while a student. I soon revisited the comforting charms of fish fingers, mash and peas - great food ready in no time. It soon became apparent that fish fingers alone was even quicker, or else stuffed into a sandwich the melted butter adding extra delight, and far less washing up overall.
The last packet I bought, a few years ago, weren't great. More crumb than fish, and fish that had an awful lot of reforming inflicted upon it. I gave them up for a while then recently wanted them again. Went to Borough Friday and told Paul, who runs Sussex Fish, that I was planning to make fish fingers for dinner. Good on you madam, he said, had some a couple of weeks ago myself and it was brilliant. He picked up a lovely piece of cod fillet I'll give you that thick section there, be easy to cut that into nice fat fingers. And so it was.
400g piece of cod fillet, check there's no bones at all
2 tablespoons plain flour, seasoned with a bit of salt
1 egg, beaten
About 50g breadcrumbs, Panko work well
Oil for shallow frying
Cut the fish into 4 even pieces -these are your fingers. Dip each one first into the flour, coat it well and shake off any excess. Next dip the finger into the beaten egg and coat well. Finally dredge the fish through the breadcrumbs so that it's covered on all sides. Put each completed fish finger onto a clean plate, and when they're all done cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes or so.
Heat the oil in a heavy based pan over a medium flame, when it's hot add the fish fingers and fry for a few minutes till the underside is golden. Flip them over carefully and fry the other side till they are crisp all over.
You can serve with mash and peas but, making the most of it being summer I tossed a green salad and added a spritz of fresh lemon. Big hunk of bread in case sandwiches were needed...
Even better than I remember!