I led a charmed childhood. We had no money to speak of but we did have oodles of imagination and access to a wealth of secondhand goods that brought life to some of our ideas. My formative years were most often one big giant playground.
My 4 o/c tea time was a splendid affair. A small table and chair set in front of the telly (once black and white, updated to colour in 1973), a linen tablecloth and a place setting with a freshly pressed napkin. This does sound pretentious but it was more an exercise in manners and slowing down time. The hour between coming home from school and the evening events unfolding was a time for my mother and I to chat a bit about the day, to unwind from the scurry of school and to just be myself, in my own head for a bit.
Fish finger sandwiches were a favourite. Out of the box store bought, warmed under the broiler, 3 of them would fit just nicely between 2 slices of bread. I would have a light scrape of ketchup and the sandwich was cut into quarters, just so mind you, that the fish fingers fit perfectly into the cuts. My mother declares I was a very precise child. I have not changed.
Fast forward 40 years or so and here is my recipe for fish fingers, developed by Joanna Miller, lovely human, c0-founder of Good Pepper . It forms part 1 of 3 recipes (Easy Sandwich Loaf and Salad Cream to follow) all leading up to the total bomb of a fish finger sandwich, image tease at the end here.
All photos by Paul Strabbing , also a lovely human.
Makes about 9 pieces
1 lb. sustainably caught cod fillets
64 g flour
8 g curry powder
5 g salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
100 g fresh breadcrumbs
100 g vegetable oil
Flaky sea salt like Maldon for sprinkling
Get your prep station ready with a cutting board, platter and three wide shallow bowls. Pour yourself a nice glass of wine.
Cut the cod fillets lengthwise into strips, about 1-inch wide and a bit longer than your ring finger.
In a shallow bowl, mix up the flour, curry powder, pepper and salt with a fork. Crack eggs into separate bowl and give them a good whisk. Place breadcrumbs in separate bowl.
Dip fish fingers in flour first, then egg (shaking off excess) and finally breadcrumbs, placing on a platter as you work. I find using just one hand works better for this, otherwise you end up with eggy crumbs all over your wine glass.
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. You’ll know it’s ready when a breadcrumb tossed in the oil sizzles immediately. Cook the fish fingers 2-3 minutes on each side until they are well browned and slightly firm when pressed with a spatula. If you must peek inside, fish should flake easily. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with flaky salt.