"Grown Up" Fish Sticks with Lemon-Thyme Mayo

"Grown Up" Fish Sticks with Lemon-Thyme Mayo

It was a loooooong week at work, and that always makes me crave childhood foods when I finally hit the weekend–mac and cheese, tomato soup, scrambled eggs, fish sticks…  While there are some respectable frozen fish sticks on the market now, I prefer to make these, which I make using an extremely lazy breading method.  Sometimes lazy is fine.

Mahi Mahi is a mild, firm fish that is easy to find and works nicely for the fish stick treatment.  I used gluten free panko bread crumbs for extra-crisp coating and I pan-fried some potato wedges in olive oil and sprinkled them with Penzey’s 4S Seasoned Salt, which I also used on the fish.  The 4S has a light smoke flavor from the addition of smoked paprika, and is the only seasoned salt I really enjoy (love it on popcorn, too).

Traditional breading involves rolling the fish in flour, then dipping in egg wash, then a final dip in crumbs.  I prefer my lazy, one-bowl method, described below.

Grown Up Fish Sticks with Lemon-Thyme Mayo
1 pound Mahi Mahi, cut into “sticks”
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
seasoned salt, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup gluten free panko crumbs
coconut or olive oil, for pan frying
1/2 cup mayo
several sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
fresh lemon zest

Place the mahi mahi “sticks” in a medium mixing bowl and sprinkle on the lemon juice and seasoned salt.  Use a large spoon to stir to coat the fish.  Sprinkle the cornstarch over the top and stir to coat.  Add in the beaten egg and stir, again, to coat.  Pour in the panko and use your hands to toss and coat the pieces of fish.  Place the coated pieces of fish on waxed paper, pressing down the panko to adhere.  Don’t worry if there are gaps in the coating.

Skim the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil, and heat over medium high.  Add the fish sticks in one layer, without crowding too much.  Cook until one side is golden brown and then flip to cook the other side.  Drain on paper toweling and repeat until all fish is cooked.

Whisk together the light mayo, thyme leaves, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and serve with the fish sticks.

These are crispy, crunchy, and light-tasting, with a a coating that doesn’t overwhelm the fish but gives you that great texture.  We love them, and I hope you will too.
Thanks for reading,


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  1. Love fried fish. And I need to check Penzey's out. Lawry's seasoned salt just doesn't cut it.

  2. I agree, I have never really cared for Lawry's. Penzeys makes a couple of varieties and I love the "smokey" version. Awesome.

  3. these look sensational!

  4. Thanks so much! They really are easy and good.

  5. Looks really good. i love Mahi Mahi. I liek how the coating isnt too heavy, because I when it is it destroys the fish!

  6. I never ate fish sticks as a kid…I'm not even sure I have ever had them…but these sound so much better than the frozen ones.

  7. These look really great. I love fish if it is really mild (has no flavor) so I can enjoy my tartar sauce. I do love mahi mahi so these will definitely be added to my "to make" list.

  8. I am crazy for these panko crusted fish sticks.
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  9. Making these TODAY!

  10. I've had fish sticks on my mind lately and here you are with a version that I can feel good about eating. They look incredible. I'm pinning this recipe as a must try. I love the lemon thyme mayo that you are serving these with. Yum!

  11. Thanks Candace! They are definitely healthier and "feel good" food. We love them.

  12. These look really delish! Going to stumble 😉

  13. Thanks Kathleen!

  14. I love your fish sticks! We just bought a box from Trader Joe's, and they are good–but these look so much better. Yum…I could wrap them in a tortilla and but stuff on 'em. Now I'm hungry. 🙂

  15. Cathy, I had not even thought about using these for fish tacos–genius!

  16. Some day, I am just going to have to be rude and invite myself over for dinner. I'll be calling from the airport, telling you I'm on my way – that will at least give you a few moments of warning. I won't even worry what you'll be serving me, 'cause I know it will be amazing!!!

  17. It's easy for me to find lemons. Very good.

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