A little backstory on fish fingers from my nostalgic archives. The first time I ever had these was when I was little, nay, wee, hardly a sapling of sorts and my dad had ordered a plate of fish fingers and it was the first time ever I’d set my eyes on something that literally looked like fingers, smelled like fried food and came crumbed in crunchy bits of golden deliciousness.
I had only to bite into them to begin a life long, albeit clandestine love affair with all things crunchy, fried and finger like.
I’d no idea something coming from the aquarium could ever taste so wonderful, and of course as I grew up I since learnt that fish from aquariums aren’t meant to be eaten (usually) and that ones that grow up in rivers and seas are far better, and I’ve since then had a good share of fish fingers tucked in my belly (they sometimes show on weekends) and also gained more insight that as wonderful as they are on their own, they taste even better sandwiched between slices of delicious bread. It could be a carb thing, but fish finger sandwich is a more complete meal, whereas fish fingers are, umm, finger food.
So, for days that need to be substantially filled with something comforting, something extravagant and something out of the ordinary, fish finger sandwich is the answer.
You need a boneless fillet of any sturdy fish. This is a commonly found basa fillet
that I’ve cut into finger wide pieces and lightly salted on both sides. This not only flavours the fish from inside, since there will be many coatings on it, but also helps tighten the raw fish a bit, so it can stand the shallow frying without breaking apart.
Now it’s just a question of assembly. Something of a conveyor belt procedure. I have here a plate of flour, eggs and breadcrumbs
and this is also the part where you can season this dish. I like to season bread crumbs, because that’s the first element to come in contact with your mouth once you bite into these fish fingers. So a cracking rain of fresh pepper.
imbued with the redness of smoked paprika. It’s these colour from paprika that’ll come through in tones of red orange once the fish fingers are fried.
so the eggs are beaten, the crumbs are seasoned.
and thus begins the first layering, wherein salted fingers of sliced fish are first placed in flour
to be coated generously on both sides, Be sure to shake off the excess flour
and dip in beaten eggs for the second coating
followed by a burial in gravel like seasoned breadcrumbs for the third and final coat.
This is what all my fish fingers looked like, I let them sit before frying so the final stage could be executed with all the efficiency of a kitchen virtuoso, who could hardly wait to get her hands on these sumptuous lovelies.
One could deep fry them, but shallow frying is just so much easier, not to mention safer. Fry in a couple tablespoons of oil on a medium high flame.
I used a fork to turn them on all sides to get an even tan, and added more oil when needed. Never said it was a low calorie recipe.
This was the first fried batch, and I let excess oil drain out on a paper towel. Somewhere around this time I also realized that one single fish fillet ended up making a good many fish fingers and that meant leftovers! Praise be lord.
whip out your favourite bread. I used a whole wheat mini baguette for no reason other than I had this on hand. Spread copious amounts of butter. yes, butter is important.
Now if only someone had at this moment told me that my plate of choice is totally the colour of fish fingers and that it’s going to camouflage the entire sandwich in pictures, I’d have kissed that person on the mouth I tell ya..alas, no help was forthcoming since I was alone and my cat wouldn’t warn of incoming death let alone suitable plates.
spread generously some mayonnaise, a layer of greens (spinach in my case) and tomatoes. In short get all the fixings you’d like in a sandwich. You could be as elaborate or minimal as you like. This is YOUR sandwich.
layer on them fried fish fingers and voila! You have the most fabulous fish sandwich ever. It’s absolutely out of the world. Crunchy, filling with the distinct flavours of a well cooked fish encased in crispy crumbs entombed in buttery bread with all the fixings. This makes for such a lovely meal that you’d be left reminiscing this moment during your darkest hours. I speak from experience.
But wait! this isn’t the end. What do you do with the remaining fish fingers.
WEll, you can have them as is, or make another breakfast sandwich the next day.
which is precisely what I did. A no frill white bread sandwich, with a layer of butter, a slice of cheese and remaining fish fingers.
breakfast of ever fattening gods.
Standard boneless fish fillet : 1
Salt: 1/2 tsp (or more to taste)
Pepper: 1/2 tsp
Paprika: 1 tsp
Flour: 1 cup (120gms)
Eggs : 2
Breadcrumbs: 100gms (1 cup)
Oil for frying: 3-4 tbsps
Slices of bread or a baguette
Spinach or lettuce leaves: 3-4
Tomato: one small
Butter: 1/2 tbsp
Mayonnaise: 2 tsp
(you can customize this sandwich to your liking. Add mustard or cheese slices or pickles)
Cut finger wide pieces of fish and lightly salt on both sides. Keep aside.
Arrange three separate dishes for flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Season the bread crumbs with paprika and pepper and beat the eggs well.
Coat each fish slice with flour. Shake off excess flour and dip into eggs until well coated and finally coat with seasoned bread crumbs till all fish fingers are well crumbed
Shallow fry on medium high heat in enough oil to make it golden and crunchy. Don’t add too many fish fingers in one pan. Add more oil as needed.
Once evenly fried and golden on all sides take them out and let drain on a paper towel.
Smother bread slices with butter and apply a layer of mayonnaise for sandwich. Add a layer of crunchy spinach and juicy tomatoes and top with as many fish fingers as your sandwich can accommodate.
Fish finger sandwich is now ready.