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!

More Great Recipes: Cod|Entrees|Fish & Seafood|Condiments|Fish

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Comments (84) Questions (4)

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2 months ago Naaman Harrar

I loved it

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you!

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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months ago Jenn

Also, what vinaigrette would pair well with the aioli?

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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months ago Pauline Crowninshield

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

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2 months 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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2 months ago Gail

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

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2 months ago brock matthews

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

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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months ago Vivian Vaughan Williams

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

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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months ago pnadon

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

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2 months 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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2 months 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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over 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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over 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.