Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks With Lime & Tarragon Aioli

By sdebrango
May 21, 2011
44 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
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 15 min

For the aioli

  • 2 large garlic cloves (give them a quick crush to release the flavor but don't pulverize)
  • 1/4 cup plus 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
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 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.

For the panko-crusted fish sticks

  • 1 cup oil, plus more as needed for deep frying
  • 1 pound Firm to semi-firm fish (I use cod or sea bass)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, plus more to taste
  1. Heat your oil. I like to deep fry the fish sticks, approximately 4 inches of oil in a heavy sauté or sauce pan to 375° 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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