Anyone that knows me knows that I love to eat fish. For as long as I can remember, it has been one of my favorite foods, and that appreciation for marine cuisine seems to have been passed on to my oldest son. He is a HUGE fan of the Ian’s fishsticks, and if he could he would undoubtedly eat them for every single meal. If you have ever bought these fishsticks, however, you know that while they are indeed tasty, buying them regularly can get very expensive, very quickly.
I came up with this recipe to both offset the costs of my child’s fishstick obsession, and to give us a fresh, flexible, fish recipe that would feed the whole family. As written, this recipe is free of Dairy, Eggs, Nuts, Wheat/Gluten, and Soy* (the Ian’s breadcrumbs are manufactured in a facilty that processes soy–if this is a concern for you, you can easily substitute another brand of breadcrumbs). Obviously, this recipe contains fish, and could also contain traces of shellfish (depending on where you purchase your fish).
My favorite thing about this recipe is its flexibilty. I have prepared it with catfish, cod, tilapia, and pollock, with equal success. Out of convenience, I generally use the Ian’s italian seasoned gluten-free breadcrumbs, which do not require any seasoning beyond salt and pepper (and even then, that’s a matter of taste). You can easily swap out the seasoned breadcrumbs in this recipe, however, for the plain variety. Doing this allows complete control over the seasoning of the breading, and the flavor possibilities are endless.
As I mentioned before this recipe can potentially be very budget friendly. I like to stock up on the Ian’s breadcrumbs when they are on sale, but you can also try buying them in bulk to cut costs. I also recommend checking your local grocery store to see what kind of fish is on sale before preparing this recipe, or buying your fish on sale ahead of time, and freezing until you are ready to use it. If you are handy with a fishing pole you can even try catching your own fish!
For the record, I spent a total of $4.99 on this meal when I prepared it tonight. That’s right, $4.99 for an allergy friendly meal for the family. I lucked out, and found Ian’s breadcrumbs on clearance at our grocery store for $1 a package (I know that is ridiculously cheap; I may or may not have bought an absurd amount of breadcrumbs today), and the same store had pollock on sale for $3.99 a pound. The point is, if you pay attention to sales, this recipe can definitely be made on the cheap.
A few final thoughts before I share my recipe. When making these fish nuggets, I use Ener G Egg Replacer to help the breadcrumbs stick to the fish. I have tried a number of substances for this purpose, and this is what I have found works best. I do not generally recommend substituting ingredients that you could normally replace an egg with (i.e. applesauce, yogurt, etc.). This recipe may work with aquafaba or other egg replacer brands (such as Bobs Red Mill Egg Replacer), but since I have not personally tried these, I can’t necessarily recommend them. If you do try any of these, I would love to hear how it worked out for you, and encourage to share your results with us in the comment section below.
If you are unable to use the egg replacer due to an allergy to any of its constituents, or a lack of availability in your area, you can replace it with your favorite non-dairy milk, and achieve similar results. The viscous, foamy consistency of the Ener G Egg Replacer does seem to be the most effective at holding the breadcrumbs in place, though, so if it is an option for you, I can’t reccomend it highly enough.
As written, this recipe makes a little more than a pound of prepared fish. For my family, that is about 3-4 servings. I have found, though, that the serving size for fish seems to vary considerably from person to person. If you are feeding number of people, or a large family, you may want to double (maybe even triple) this recipe.
Now, without further ado, here is our family’s recipe for allergy friendly fish nuggets! 🙂
Allergy Friendly Fish Nuggets (Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Nut, and **Soy** Free)
**Ian’s breadcrumbs are manufactured in a facility that processes soy–if this is a concern, you may substitute a different brand of GF bread crumbs instead**
***Makes 3-4 Servings***
- 2 cups of cooking oil for frying (I’m using canola)
- 4 tablespoons Ener G Egg Replacer, mixed with 8 tablespoons warm water
- 1 (7 oz) package Ians Natural Foods Italian Style Gluten-free Breadcrumbs
- 1 lb pollock, catfish, cod, or tilapia, cut into 1/2 inch or 1 inch chunks
- Sea salt (to taste)
- Fresh lemon slices (optional)
1.) Pour breadcrumbs, egg replacer, and fish chunks into three separate bowls. DO NOT COMBINE. It should look something like this:
2. Next, heat your oil in a large skillet over med.-high. heat.
3.) While your oil is heating, begin breading your fish. To do this, dredge your fish in the egg replacer, then again in the breadcrumbs until fully coated in crumbs. This is best done in small batches. Make sure that the fish is coated with the egg replacer, but not overly saturated, before coating in breadcrumbs. If you have too much residual liquid in the breadcrumbs during this process, the breadcrumbs will clump together, and may even become gooey. They will still taste good when fried, but the finished product will be sparsely coated, and may not look as nice.
4.) Fry the breaded fish in the heated oil. Do this in small batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Carefully flip the fish when the edges are starting to brown, and fry until evenly browned, and fish is cooked through.
5.) When fish tests done, carefully transfer it from the pan to a plate lined with paper towels (to absorb any excess grease). If desired, sprinkle with coarsely ground sea salt, and garnish with fresh lemon slices. Allow to cool a moment before serving. Enjoy!
NOTE: Please check (and double check) any and all labels before you consume a new product if you (or your child) has a food allergy, and if necessary call the relevant manufacturer to confirm that the product is safe for you (or your child) to consume. Please consult your (or your child’s) Dr. before making any dietary changes. While I hope that all of you reading this will find the information I have supplied above to be helpful, this information is not intended to in any way replace, or supersede, the care and advice of your allergist, nutritionist, dietician, or other medical professional.