Lime and Tarragon Aioli with Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks

By • May 21, 2011 84 Comments

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Author Notes: Tarragon and lime are a beautiful match and I like to use as a dipping sauce with homemade fish sticks. The aioli takes on a faint green hue and paired with the crunchy fish sticks it makes a delicious meal and is a change from the traditional tartar sauce. This is great finger food and takes no time at all to prepare. I like to use a garlic infused olive oil in the aioli. - sdebrangosdebrango

Food52 Review: Well, she had me at "fish" and "sticks". The tarragon and lime are a new combination to me, and their aioli sends these beauties over the top. The balance of canola and olive oils is perfect, as it allows the tarragon and lime to shine through, and nothing gets in the way of satisfying crunch on a nice light fish. The roasted garlic and its infused oil are the icing on the so to speak cake. I used talapia because it was what I had, and I would be hard-pressed to imagine a fish, sticks or otherwise, with which this wouldn't be fantastic. Next time around, and there will be many of those, I think I'll grill a good sandwich roll, slather it with this lovely aioli, stuff some fish sticks inside, and call it a sandwich. Wonderful invention, sdebrango! - boulangereboulangere

Serves 4

The Aioli

  • 2 large cloves garlic (give it a quick crush to release the flavor but don't pulverize)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest (the zest of one whole lime)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Black pepper (3 turns of the pepper mill)
  • 1/2 cup minus 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  1. To make the garlic-infused olive oil, add the 2 peeled, lightly crushed garlic cloves to the olive oil in a small saucepan and simmer on very low heat. Be very careful not to let the garlic get brown. Turn off the flame after just a few minutes and let the garlic sit in the oil until it softens. Let cool before making the aioli. I like to make this infused oil ahead of time -- sitting overnight gives a more profound garlic flavor.
  2. Add egg yolks, the cooled cooked garlic cloves, lime juice, lime zest, tarragon, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. With blender running slowly add the vegetable oil and garlic-infused olive oil. The aioli will be thick and creamy and a lovely light green. Adjust seasoning and citrus to your taste.

Panko Crusted Fish Sticks

  • Oil for deep frying
  • 1 pound Firm to semi-firm fish (I use cod or sea bass)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup panko
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat your oil. I like to deep fry the fish sticks, approximately 4 inches of oil in a heavy saute or sauce pan to 375 degrees F. Alternately you can pan-fry the fish sticks in about an inch of oil in the skillet. I recommend seasoned cast iron or a non-stick skillet.
  2. Cut your fish into pieces, dip in egg and then in panko.
  3. Carefully drop your fish sticks into hot oil and fry until golden brown. Remove and place on paper towel-lined plate to absorb any extra oil. Add additional salt if you like directly after they come out of the oil.
  4. Serve with aioli as a dipping sauce. Enjoy!
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Comments (84) Questions (4)

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about 1 month ago Naaman Harrar

I loved it

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you!

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about 1 month ago Pauline Crowninshield

I love the cole slaw with a vinaigrette idea...think fish taco without the totilla. ( Fish tacos are often topped with coleslaw and a drizzle of a chipotle mayonnaise.) I'm sure the tomato/corn salad would be great as well, but I'm leaning toward the slaw...made with red cabbage if possible.

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I think it would be great with cole slaw as a matter of fact it is a pretty classic combination let me know how it is!

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I know it's not in the same venue but what about a light slaw with an Asian twist, sesame oil, mirin, lime, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, sriracha, just naming ingredients here but I love red cabbage with asian inspired dressing. Kind of Bahn Mi ish flavors. It would be delicious with the fish.

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about 1 month ago Jenn

Also, what vinaigrette would pair well with the aioli?

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I think a cole slaw sounds wonderful. I also think a fresh summer said with corn would be delicious there is one here on the site that is great. It has a buttermilk dressing and is fresh and crunchy and I think it would be wonderf with the fish sticks.

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I would keep it simple with the vinaigrette white wine vinegar and olive oil a little Dijon. I think the buttermilk dressing on the salad with corn would also be ok with the aioli.

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about 1 month ago Jenn

What are some good sides that would pair well with this recipe? I was thinking a cool coleslaw with a vinaigrette and/or a fresh tomato and corn salad?

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

As Pauline can attest these are great pan fried. I deep fried but thats just me. Thank you all so much for your comments. It's all good!! Thank you all.

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about 1 month ago Pauline Crowninshield

Goodness autocorrect has been letting me down...that's pan fry not pantry.

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about 1 month ago Pauline Crowninshield

Excuse me Gail. The email said pantry...the recipe on website said deep fry. That's all the hubbub was about...relax.

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about 1 month ago Gail

Doesn't anybody actually read anymore? The recipe stated very clearly that you can pan fry....

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about 1 month ago brock matthews

What kind of a fry pan can take 4" of cooking oil?

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I have a sauté ian with high sides if you don't just use a sauce pan.

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I used a saute pan, just changed the wording on the recipe. I use my all clad 6 qt saute pan for deep frying sometimes. It has 6 inch sides.

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about 1 month ago Pauline Crowninshield

Quinoa is a berry that is treated as a grain...are you considering grinding it and then dredging your fish? Panto is an extra crispy unique bread crumb that we have borrowed from the Japanese. Today I made the fish using Panko crumbs and an eith inch of oil...it was fantastic.

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yes they are just as good pan fried in little oil, thank you so much Pauline.

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about 1 month ago Vivian Vaughan Williams

could I use quinoa instead of Panko? Has anyone tried this method?

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi Vivian, have never tried breading with quinoa, maybe someone else has but it sounds like it would be a great GF alternative and more healthful than bread.

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about 1 month ago Lou McCarthy

Can't you just put an inch or so of good (safe) (avocado, coconut) oil in the pan then crisp it up? I don't see the need for deep-frying but if that's what you like, then, do it. It depends on your oil ... and I now only use those above and EVOO (but not for frying, ever!, except low heat sauteeing.) This recipe sounds like a dream come true for me because I love fish and crispy fresh fish is so good! I can't wait to try the aioli, too! Thank you so much! What a beautiful site!

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

You do not have to deep fry, thats what I do but pan fry is perfectly acceptable. It's perfectly adaptable.

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about 1 month ago CFrance

I think what Pauline meant is that in the email sent by Food 52, the title says "It's Pan-) Fry Day". I too was disappointed by the fact that it has to be deep fried. That is a deal breaker for me.

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I understand and you can certainly pan fry if you don't want to deep fry the fish sticks. I usually deep fry them myself but I have also pan fried from time to time. It is very adaptable to whatever cooking method you like, I imagine they could even be baked.

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about 1 month ago Pauline Crowninshield

Aioli looks delicious, but kind of a bait and switch to go from pan frying to deep frying in the blink of an eye!

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Not sure what you mean by bait and switch. I like to deep fry the fish sticks and mention that in the instructions.

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I just got the email with the pan fry thing so now I know what you were referring to. Yes these can be pan fried as well as deep fried your choice as it relates to your own preference, dietary restrictions etc...

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about 1 month ago pnadon

Just found this recipe. I'll definitely be making this AIOLI tonight!

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

The aioli is really good thank you so much.

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over 1 year ago James W

lime + tarragon NEVER make an aioli: they can be used to make a flavoured mayonnaise but NEVER an aioli. Get it right

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over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

You are so kind to point that out.

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over 1 year ago Cristina Sciarra

James, you might be right about that, but please keep in mind that Food52 works in the spirit of friendliness and learning.

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over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.


Thank you!

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about 2 years ago JohnSkye

1/4 cup (olive oil) + 2tbs = 6 tbs
1/2 cup (veg oil) - 2 tbs = 6 tbs
why not just "6 tbs" of each????

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about 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

You could certainly do it that way, thanks so much for the input.

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about 1 month ago jpriddy

JohnSkye, my reaction too.

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about 3 years ago Cristina Sciarra

These look so good!

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks Cristina, paired with fries it's a delicious fish and chips dinner.

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about 3 years ago cindy_perkins_marlow

I love it when recipes are a complete success! Followed the instructions to the letter using swai. Total hit out of the ballpark!!!! Wish I could post the photo I took because it looks almost as delicious as it tasted.

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I am so sorry I just saw your comment and am very glad you liked the fish sticks. Wish you could have posted a picture. Thank you so much.

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about 3 years ago elissamarcuson

Can these fish sticks be baked with a similar result? I love, love, love tarragon and will def try this aioli

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I am not getting notifications of comments and questions. I apologize for not seeing your question. I'm sure by now you have figured it out. I do think you can bake but the results will be different although I am sure equally as delicious.

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over 3 years ago m.izzy

This was a hit. The fish sticks were simple and delicious and the aioli was delicious. Didn't realize how easy it can be to make aioli from scratch! I used cod and it worked wonderfully.

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much m.izzy so glad you like them. Yes, its really so easy to make aioli or mayo for that matter. So happy you liked the recipe.

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over 3 years ago craftaddiction

A great recipe. I have not try frying anything before, but I am glad I tried it. Will definitely make it again.

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I so rarely fry anything myself but make an exception for these fish sticks. So glad you enjoyed them and thank you so much for giving them a try.

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over 3 years ago MadeInMaine

So commercial mayo it was, doctored with the lime zest and juice and tarragon and a dose of salt and pepper. The mayo, now citrus-infused and the color of young pea shoots, was a burst of spring in a monkey dish.

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I love using commercial mayo, so quick and easy, thank you for trying.The lime gives a citrusy zing that I just love with the tarragon.

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over 3 years ago Midge

I made these tonight with cod and we absolutely loved them. Thanks for a total keeper.

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you Midge, so glad you enjoyed. I love them with Cod, its the only kind of fish I use when I make them.

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over 3 years ago Crispini

Marvelous! A simple and delicious weeknight recipe. I made the aioli early in the day, so it was just a matter of doing up the fish for our supper. Next time I'll make up more than one pound of cod, because these were so enthusiastically received. We have a nice quantity of the aioli left over and it'll be fun to come up with some uses for that. Thanks so much for a brilliant recipe!

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much Crispini and I am thrilled you like the fish sticks and aioli. Thank you for giving it a try!

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over 3 years ago Susige

We made the fish as directed - the additional dusting of salt really adds to the flavor after removing from the oil! We used the Lime and Tarragon Aioli to make a broccoli slaw to add to a butter-dressed and lightly broiled Hawaiian sub roll for a great fish sandwich! Sweet roll, citrus slaw, and crispy thick fish (we used cod fillets). My husband announced it was a keeper!

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

That sounds so good, I love the idea of adding the aioli to a broccoli slaw what an amazing fish sandwich, I MUST try that. Thank you so much for trying this recipe and I'm so happy you liked it.

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over 3 years ago nogaga

Looks wonderful! Congrats on the highlight!

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much, so good to see you here! Missed you.

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about 4 years ago boulangere

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Go Mavs!

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about 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh thank you so much. I so happy that you liked.

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about 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Congratulations on your much deserved EP!

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about 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

ok, make that screaming.

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about 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I thought about you last night as I was hollering at the end. Surprised you couldn't hear me.

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about 4 years ago boulangere

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Made this for dinner last night amid torrential rain and tornado warnings. Unforgettable - your fish sticks and brilliant aioli, that is.

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about 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I'm so glad you liked, terrible about the weather. Way too many tornado's. How about those mav's???

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about 4 years ago boulangere

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jWhoa! Heat by 2. We should see lots of great street food possibilities from this series.

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about 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Close game, holy cow!

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about 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Making these tomorrow. My reward for making it through an extremely arduous week. Great expectations.

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about 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

i really hope you like the recipe. Biting nails!!!

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about 4 years ago boulangere

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86 - 86 mavs - heat. biting nails with great expectations for the mavs.

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about 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

biting nails!

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about 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Neck and neck now thats a nail biter!

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about 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

OMG! I grabbed these to test, forgetting they were yours. Now I'm doubly happy.

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about 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you I am so happy you are testing my recipe I really hope you like it.

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about 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I don't think I've ever had lime paired with tarragon. But, I must! I am newly in love with tarragon because I have a nice pot of it sitting on my porch. I'll certainly have to give this aioli a go.

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about 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Its a wonderful pairing, I love taragon also in chicken or tuna salad, sauces. I had some in my herb garden but it seems that either the squirrels or raccoons like it too because I went out to get some for my recipe and it was gone, chewed all the wa;y down to the dirt. I have to put some in a pot maybe the critters will stay away. Thank you so much I hope you enjoy!

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about 4 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Oh, oh, oh. Give me some fish sticks. They look GORGEOUS. Simple and tasty. And I love the lime fragrance too

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about 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh yes, fishsticks are fantastic, kids and adults love them. Thank you kitchen butterfly.

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about 4 years ago wssmom

You've made fish sticks positively delectable!

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about 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much wssmom.

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about 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

LOVE fish sticks, and your photo is beautiful. So is the aioli, btw.

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about 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you, I totally love fish sticks. I really appreciate your comment about the photo I have really been trying to take deent pics. I have always been camera challenged. So glad you like.

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about 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh this is funny I was going to do crabcakes I think the combination would be just wonderful. Oh please do the crabcakes and let me know how they taste with the aioli. The combination of the lime and crab cakes would be amazing I think.

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about 4 years ago Sagegreen

Since I bought wonderful lump crabmeat, I will do something....now I am leaning towards a tequila and lime bent!

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about 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh that sounds wonderful, I never would have thought of tequila. Love the mint taragon aioli with lamb, Thats brilliant.

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about 4 years ago Sagegreen

Nice! I am delighted to see lime and panko here with tarragon. What a wonderfully fragrant combo. I was going to make up some crab cakes with a lime aioli, but your combo is much nicer. Clever to use a garlic infused oil! I made just made up one with tarragon and mint (with lemon) for lamb tonight.