Frozen fish slices may appear to be simple for kids, but they are a simple method to have quick access to seafood and a flexible element for unexpectedly grown-up recipes! While there’s nothing wrong with eating a fish stick with fries and barbecue sauce for a conventional salmon and chips meal, there are a few simple ways to spice up the pieces to turn them even greater.
Fish sticks are popular among children, but they can be hazardous if deep-fried or badly prepared. Artificial flavorings and additives encase deep-fried fish whose origin is unclear at best, negating practically all the nutritious advantages of fish in many frozen fish sticks.
So let’s first figure out whether fish fingers are pre-cooked, or they’re simply frozen as-is.
Are fish fingers pre-cooked ?
Yes, most fish finger brands are pre-cooked (partially) and you only need to reheat them at home. The reheating further cooks the fish and they are then safe to eat. We recommend checking the box of your preferred brand, it should state whether it’s pre-cooked or not somewhere around the ingredient list.
We don’t recommend eating uncooked fish sticks, for health reasons. First, a thawed fish stick may begin to harbor bacteria and fungi if left in the open for long enough. And second, uncooked (raw) fish may upset a stomach, especially if you’re feeding small children.
How long do you fry fish fingers ?
Fish fingers are usually done in 1- minute of frying. Baking takes longer, around 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven. We recommend you cook fish fingers in a pan with a small amount of oil, and use a lid to trap steam so the fingers cook through on the top. Careful when removing the lid to flip the fingers, you can get a splatter from hot oil if you’ve added too much.
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How do you tell when fish fingers are done ?
Fish looks glossy and translucent whenever you first start frying it. When it’s finished, the fish is opaque. When cooking fish sticks with a breadcrumb covering, you cannot see the fish meat inside. In this case we recommend thawing the fish sticks about 30 minutes before frying them. Then fry until the outside looks golden-brown and crispy.
Can you cook fish sticks from frozen ?
Yes, fish fingers are ready to cook from frozen. If you decide to deep-fry, be mindful of oil splatter from the leftover moisture on the sticks. To cook from frozen it’s best to cook with very little oil, to avoid any injury from oil splatters. Or to bake the fish fingers in a pre-heated oven.
Although it’s possible to cook fish fingers from frozen, we don’t recommend this as it can lead to uneven cooking, such as the outside being burnt by the time the inside cooks through. Thus, we recommend thawing the fingers at least 30 minutes before cooking, especially if you mean to fry them.
Are fish fingers unhealthy ?
Fish fingers by themselves are not unhealthy, but they can be made unhealthy by the food combinations you use them in. By unhealthy we mean high carb and high fat combinations, such as fish fingers with fries and mayo.
Always make sure you have a side of protein – the fish fingers, and sides of unprocessed carbs – like brown rice, and a side of veggies – like grilled zucchini or a simple salad.
So, while fish fingers aren’t horrible as a quick dinner, they’re covered is rich in fat and carbs, so the remainder of the plate must include veggies rather than a pile of fries.
Can you microwave fish fingers ?
Yes, you can microwave fish fingers but they will become soft and limp. If you intend to cook fish fingers in the microwave to eat them you can either make peace with the poor texture, or you can simply thaw them a little and then continue cooking them in a pan with very little oil.
Tips on cooking fish fingers
Since fish fingers are such a common pre-made meal, you or your children may easily grow tired of it. So why not make them more interesting ? Here’s a couple of ideas to help you along.
Try adding various spices to the side dish
When you’re cooking fish fingers you’re also making a side dish, simple or complex as it may be. The most obvious choice when eating any fish is to add garlic, but there are many other options you can try. Consider curry powder, smoked paprika, or caramelized onions to go with the side dish.
Don’t be afraid to look in the section of the grocery store or the fantastic shops in your neighborhood for easy spices and seasonings to up your fish sticks.
Allow for some carbs with your fish fingers
Fish fingers with veggies alone is a sure-fire way to make sure you get fed up with the taste. You need a bit of potato, rice, or pasta with them every now and then. The best thing to do is to get a balanced meal on your plate. Split the plate into 3 even parts, allowing for 1 part fish fingers, one part carb, and one part veggie.
Always add simple ingredients with your fish fingers
Fish fillets from a package often include a slew of unpronounceable substances, additives, and artificial colors. Choose simple, healthful items like whole grain bread, spices, and good fats for cooking when preparing fish sticks.
This is also why it’s better to pair fish fingers with a simple veggie and rice dish, rather than a complex and possibly pre-made side dish. Keep the meal simple and make it delicious through herbs and spices.
Add the fried fish sticks to a salad
It is an excellent method to introduce seafood to any young kids at home without creating a big fuss out of it. Salads are a super healthy method to do so. You can replace the tuna with fish sticks. It has a small amount of protein and a lot of crispness, which the children will surely enjoy.
Seafood is notoriously difficult to introduce to children, but doing so in the right combination will make things easier. For example we’ve noticed that canned peas and feta (or Greek cheese) go especially well with chopped fried fish sticks in a salad. Add a dash of garlic and onion powder to the salad and it will be hard to resist.
Keep the fish sticks away form heavy sauces
When you’re serving fish sticks try and keep away from heavy thick sauces like mayo, garlic sauce, thousand island sauce and the likes. While they are delicious, you can easily make a simpler but still delicious version at home.
For example one of the simplest garlic sauces known to man is crushed garlic, mashed with coarse salt and add a small amount of water it to thin it out. It is spicy, garlicky and you really only need a little. If you want to tone it down for the kids, add some sour cream into the mix.
Or try and simple vinaigrette. 1 part olive oil, 1 part vinegar (or lemon juice). Whisk thoroughly and add your favorite spices, and dip the fish sticks in there.