Chicken of the Sea

I made fish sticks for Babyman for dinner tonight, which is actually one of my favorite things to cook for him and I don’t do it nearly enough.  These fish sticks are one of those enduring favorites that, much like avocado, never seems to go out of style despite his changing tastes.

I was going to use white fish (tilapia or sole) but I found myself at the best-kept-secret fishmonger in San Francisco, Gigi’s Sotto Mare in North Beach, which is a restaurant with a little fish retail business on the side.  Gigi’s just got a catch of wild salmon from the Columbia River, and it was so gorgeous I bought two restaurant cuts for my husband and me–which is of course a TON of food.  So I cut a little chunk out of each for Babyman.

The recipe is always the same regardless of the fish.  I use cornmeal because it makes a crunchy crust without being goopy, and because I like to add texture to Babyman’s food.  I used to serve it with spring peas pureed with mint, for a sort of Londonish fish & mushy peas feel, but Babyman no longer accepts peas so tonight I served it with black beans (he loved), and polenta with tomato sauce and parmesan (he hated).  I’m finding that giving him 3-4 foods to choose from at dinner allows me to be a little more zen when he rejects something completely.

Jaime’s No-Fail Fish Bites
1 fillet of sole or equivalent (whitefish is generally best, but you can use anything), cut into thin strips and checked for bones
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp dill weed
olive oil

Spread cornmeal in a shallow dish; mix in dill weed.
Dredge fish on all sides in cornmeal/dill mixture.
Heat olive oil in a frying pan and fry fish, turning once, about 3 minutes per side (a bit longer if using steakier fish like salmon).

Minty Mushy Peas
1 cup frozen organic spring peas, steamed until soft
1 sprig fresh mint
1 tbsp butter

Mix all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

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