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Frozen breaded fish (sticks, fillets), what is the best?

Frozen breaded fish (sticks, fillets), what is the best?
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  • Frozen breaded fish (sticks, fillets), what is the best?

    Post #1 - February 16th, 2018, 6:34 pm
    Post #1 - February 16th, 2018, 6:34 pm Post #1 - February 16th, 2018, 6:34 pm
    Hi,

    I am pretty sure in a thread on Lent, there are some breaded fish recommendations. I do recall Costco's breaded fish is considered good by some.

    Yes, I can bread fish myself and fry it.

    Every once in a while, I want to revisit the Friday night dinners of my youth. The era when Catholics ate no meat on Friday ever.

    My Dad is the Catholic in the house. Mom and I are the light version, who would eat meat if he were not around.

    Tonight, I went to the store with the idea to make Pepper and Egg sandwiches. I changed my mind when I saw the fish sticks. I then sat there pondering which was worse (or better): Gorton's or Van de Kamp's. I settled on Gorton's fish sticks and another of beer batter fillets.

    I lived four years in Maryland when in grade school. In the local store, you could buy fishcakes. I an 99% certain they are Baltimore's finest Coddies.

    I bought a large jar of sweet relish for all the tartar sauce we'll be eating over the next six weeks or so.

    Any thoughts on frozen fish sticks and their cousin's the fillets?

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #2 - February 16th, 2018, 9:47 pm
    Post #2 - February 16th, 2018, 9:47 pm Post #2 - February 16th, 2018, 9:47 pm
    I grew up on Mrs. Paul’s Fish Sticks. Haven’t had them in years.
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #3 - February 17th, 2018, 6:54 am
    Post #3 - February 17th, 2018, 6:54 am Post #3 - February 17th, 2018, 6:54 am
    I grew up around Boston when ‘Fish Sticks’ were made along the New England coast from Cod and Haddock.
    They were a Friday staple in our house.
    I even remember going to the processing plants watching the fish being unloaded by conveyor right into the factory.
    Today, I believe most are a composite of Bering Sea Pollack.
    I purchase fresh Cod fillets, trim for a large ‘Stick’ and bread and fry in butter/oil. The tails are saved for chowder.
    Spending a lot of time in my later years in the Mid West, I got used to ‘Fillet of Fish’ and use the Cod that way also.-Richard
  • Post #4 - February 17th, 2018, 11:11 am
    Post #4 - February 17th, 2018, 11:11 am Post #4 - February 17th, 2018, 11:11 am
    Cathy, we had Costco's Ultimate Fish Sticks just the other night for the first time in a few years. They reminded me how much I liked them! They are super quick to just put in an oiled or buttered cast iron skillet and turn by quarter turns until they thaw, cook through and brown up a little. It gives me time to make some homemade cole slaw or tartar sauce. It is very retro especially if I make some tater tots to go with them.

    Costco (and Sam's) also has what we refer to as 'cod pieces' which never fails to make us giggle and think of Monty Python. These are 'real beer battered' and they fry up in a skillet just like the fish sticks. They are OK! What's not to like on a cold Tuesday evening?

    Our tartar sauce recipe does not use sweet relish. Instead, a limp Clausen's dill spear is found in the back of the fridge and chopped. Any capers that are already opened are also chopped along with whatever stub of onion is waiting in the produce drawer. Hellmann's mayo brings it together. A drop of brine from the pickles or capers is welcome. Always the sriracha and wings sauce bottles are on the table along with plain old tabasco.

    See... now I have made myself hungry and it is not even noon!
  • Post #5 - February 17th, 2018, 11:37 am
    Post #5 - February 17th, 2018, 11:37 am Post #5 - February 17th, 2018, 11:37 am
    Thanks for the leads on the Costco frozen-fish products; I have some 'old-school Friday' memories of fish sticks myself.

    +1 on semi-home-made tartar sauce. My concoction:

    Minced cornichons [Trader Joe has some good-quality affordable ones]
    Minced shallot
    Chopped capers
    Hellman's mayo and dash of cornichon juice [or lemon if there's part of a lemon hanging around]

    Giovanna
    =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=

    "Enjoy every sandwich."

    -Warren Zevon
  • Post #6 - February 17th, 2018, 2:08 pm
    Post #6 - February 17th, 2018, 2:08 pm Post #6 - February 17th, 2018, 2:08 pm
    Damn! Now I gotta go get me some Gorton's! :mrgreen:
  • Post #7 - February 17th, 2018, 4:28 pm
    Post #7 - February 17th, 2018, 4:28 pm Post #7 - February 17th, 2018, 4:28 pm
    Hi,

    I was so pleased as punch replicating our 1960's Friday night meal of fish sticks, macaroni and cheese with tartar sauce. I also added coleslaw, because I like it. My Mom likely had a green salad back then.

    Mom and a family friend recognized what I was attempting to do. My Dad did not recognize it as anything particularly special. "This was our Friday night meal for years!"

    We all did like the Gorton's fish sticks, crunchy exterior with a soft fish inside. They were left in the oven to keep warm longer than package instructions. It could have been extra crisp due to handling, though we liked it that way.

    ***

    Joy,

    Is the pan frying of fish sticks what the Costco variant suggests or that is how you wish to cook them? I will be going there shortly to check it out.

    Thanks!

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #8 - February 17th, 2018, 5:28 pm
    Post #8 - February 17th, 2018, 5:28 pm Post #8 - February 17th, 2018, 5:28 pm
    Great minds think alike. We had a faux fish fry last night, too, with Gorton's beer-battered fish fillets, semi-homemade tartar sauce (capers, chopped dill pickle, parsley, lemon juice, Hellman's), creamy coleslaw, and tater tots. Well, some kind of "healthier" veggie tots, but same difference. And an Old Style tall boy to round it off.

    To be honest, I actually quite like the Gorton's beer-battered fish fillets and use them all the time. Plus they were on sale at the Pete's for like $3.49 for a pack of 10. They're also quite good in semi-homemade fish tacos (my usual use for them.) Plus the 3 1/2 and 2 year old gobble them up, which is a win for us!
  • Post #9 - February 18th, 2018, 9:54 am
    Post #9 - February 18th, 2018, 9:54 am Post #9 - February 18th, 2018, 9:54 am
    Another vote for the Trident fish sticks at Costco, on price, quality, and convenience. One 4-lb bag for $12 or less will get you through Lent and take up less freezer space than boxes that weigh less than a pound each. Trident and all the familiar grocery store brands are 100% wild Alaskan pollack, but Trident's are whole pieces vs the others minced, and Trident's have a better fish-to-breading ratio (compare grams of protein for equal serving weights).

    I haven't tried Trident's Beer-Battered Cod (2.5-lb boxes at Costco), but I bet they'd make a good Friday night fish fry, at a better price than the same product sold in smaller boxes together with potato wedges in grocery stores.

    I usually keep a bag of Trident salmon burgers from Costco in the freezer too. Can't remember the price, but I have compared before and found the individual burgers sold at Costco are larger and are a better price per ounce, maybe even per burger despite being larger, than the Trident salmon burgers sold in smaller boxes in grocery stores.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #10 - February 18th, 2018, 10:59 am
    Post #10 - February 18th, 2018, 10:59 am Post #10 - February 18th, 2018, 10:59 am
    Cathy, apparently I am cooking those Costco fish sticks all wrong! Who knew? ha ha ha

    The bag has three cooking options for the fish sticks:
    Microwave
    Bake in oven
    Deep fry

    NONE of those appeals to me. My cast iron skillet is very nicely seasoned and a teaspoon of canola oil is all that is needed to make it non-stick.
  • Post #11 - February 19th, 2018, 4:48 pm
    Post #11 - February 19th, 2018, 4:48 pm Post #11 - February 19th, 2018, 4:48 pm
    Oh boy, what a trip down memory lane! Tnx guys!

    My dad used to have a locker in the early 50s, and my mom was an avid reader of all the modish woman's mags--Woman's Home Companion, Ladies Home Journal, etc. so our family was into all the latest in frozen and other processed food. When my dad got out of the USAF (he'd been recalled for Korea), he quit the locker, they went out an bought a humongeous Amana 21cubic foot freezer, which lasted well into the 80s. From that day forward, Mrs. Paul's were a prime feature of Friday nights. Mom baked them. I made the tartar sauce: Hellman's, chopped Kosher dills, green onions, kept it simple. With enough tartar sauce, we could enjoy them. I bet I haven't had a fish stick (I learned to call them "fish fingers" in England) in 45 years. I'm thinking maybe I should go over to Costco...

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #12 - February 19th, 2018, 9:44 pm
    Post #12 - February 19th, 2018, 9:44 pm Post #12 - February 19th, 2018, 9:44 pm
    In the early years, , Lent involved frozen fish sticks, frozen shrimp and good stuff like that. My father would have preferred a full Lent of pickled herring but that was out.

    However, due to the cost of fish and shrimp, my mother would serve six weeks if tuna noodle casserole. It really wasn't bad as much as it was complete monotony that we would have the same thing EVERY Friday.

    When I got married, Mrs. Jlawrence01 thought that she would continue the TNC Fridays during Lent. I barred her from the kitchen until Easter. Seriously. This time of year, I always make sure that she is NOT smuggling in canned tuna.

    As for frozen fish filets, I will bread my own. It is really not that difficult. The only good frozen product that I have ever had was the Olmsted brand from Ontario that was available in Detroit.

    Locally, here in Arizona, eating fish and chips at most of the Catholic parishes is truly penance. Grossly overcooked mediocre frozen fish is the norm. And it is always prefaced by, "this is the best fried fish you will ever eat." The snowbirds from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin can generally be identified by the cringes after the first bite. It is one step below federal lunch program fish sandwiches.

    In some Catholic parishes, like the Cathedral of St Thomas Aquinas in Reno, they have banned the fish fry in favor of a soup pot luck with homemade breads.
  • Post #13 - February 20th, 2018, 9:10 am
    Post #13 - February 20th, 2018, 9:10 am Post #13 - February 20th, 2018, 9:10 am
    I also remeber an endless supply of tuna fish sandwiches and tuna casseroles!
    As to ‘Tarter Sauce’, I have switched from a Hellman’s base to Japanese KewPie. Even though it contains the dreaded msg, it is just great stuff!-Richard
  • Post #14 - February 20th, 2018, 9:23 am
    Post #14 - February 20th, 2018, 9:23 am Post #14 - February 20th, 2018, 9:23 am
    My mayo these days is Kenji’s easy blender version—great! even in my tarter sauce!

    Geo
    PS. Didn’t anyone else’s mom make canned salmon cakes?
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #15 - February 20th, 2018, 9:55 am
    Post #15 - February 20th, 2018, 9:55 am Post #15 - February 20th, 2018, 9:55 am
    “PS. Didn’t anyone else’s mom make canned salmon cakes?”

    My wife turns these out from time to time!
    Usually it’s ‘Pink’ canned salmon.
    When I have salmon tails left from whole salmon, into the blender! Lemon or Crystal hot sauce follows.-Richard
  • Post #16 - February 20th, 2018, 10:10 am
    Post #16 - February 20th, 2018, 10:10 am Post #16 - February 20th, 2018, 10:10 am
    I must admit to doing the same, Richard: 'pink' salmon cakes. Sometimes when I've got a little bit of home-made lox, I'll blend it in. What's your recipe? I know you're a proper fish guy, so you've probably got a *great* recipe!

    Here's one from me: take a can of good salmon, a cup or so (eyeball the amount) of mayo, and one packet of gelatin, bloomed and diluted with a Tbs or so of warmish water. Blend, put in a bowl or other mold. Chill. Makes a really neat mousse-like dish: spreadable, with salad, whatever. Looks, feels, and seems fancier than it actually is. :wink:

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #17 - February 20th, 2018, 1:55 pm
    Post #17 - February 20th, 2018, 1:55 pm Post #17 - February 20th, 2018, 1:55 pm
    Oh yes, my mom made salmon cakes. Awful things full of chunks of backbone and slimy skin.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #18 - February 20th, 2018, 4:49 pm
    Post #18 - February 20th, 2018, 4:49 pm Post #18 - February 20th, 2018, 4:49 pm
    I like the salmon mousse idea, Geo. Thanks for that.

    Walgreens, of all places, occasionally has the large (15 oz) cans of canned salmon on sale for a surprisingly low price, with coupons in their flyer.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #19 - February 20th, 2018, 6:57 pm
    Post #19 - February 20th, 2018, 6:57 pm Post #19 - February 20th, 2018, 6:57 pm
    “What's your recipe?”

    Varies, an egg with bread crumbs for binder, finely chopped celery/onion or shallot, Worcestershire.
    Roll the patty in flour, fry in oil/butter(non-salted).
    For decadence, replace canned with fresh salmon.-Richard
  • Post #20 - February 20th, 2018, 7:06 pm
    Post #20 - February 20th, 2018, 7:06 pm Post #20 - February 20th, 2018, 7:06 pm
    For decadence, replace canned with fresh salmon.


    Heh-heh Richard, I *so* get that! Sometimes I smoke my salmon before lox'ing it (which makes it 'nova' if I understand the nomenclature, which I'm not sure that I do!), and save out a big chunk to make the cakes or mousse with. People dig into that salmon like grizzley bears or killer whales! : )

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #21 - February 20th, 2018, 7:20 pm
    Post #21 - February 20th, 2018, 7:20 pm Post #21 - February 20th, 2018, 7:20 pm
    I like Trader Joe's battered fish nuggets. Throw a couple of them on a corn tortilla with cabbage, lime juice and some salsa for a nice fish taco.
  • Post #22 - February 21st, 2018, 12:11 am
    Post #22 - February 21st, 2018, 12:11 am Post #22 - February 21st, 2018, 12:11 am
    Katie wrote:I like the salmon mousse idea, Geo. Thanks for that.

    Walgreens, of all places, occasionally has the large (15 oz) cans of canned salmon on sale for a surprisingly low price, with coupons in their flyer.


    You are bringing back memories. In 2010, Mrsjlawrence01 in scouring the discount bins at the Crystal Lake Walgreens located and purchased a CASE of that salmon at 25 cents per can. 24 cans for $6.

    We had years of salmon cakes, salmon salad, and the dreaded salmon noodle casserole over the five years that we used up that salmon. The last two cans were relocated to Arizona where finally, they met their demise.
  • Post #23 - February 21st, 2018, 10:16 am
    Post #23 - February 21st, 2018, 10:16 am Post #23 - February 21st, 2018, 10:16 am
    I'm with you Joe: *dreaded* salmon noodle casserole indeed! I wonder why it just never comes up to the level of the classic tuna version?

    IIRC, Campbell's Soup pushed the version using mushroom soup--developed in their kitchens. Maybe the salmon version needed something different, like cream of celery...

    :D

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #24 - February 21st, 2018, 12:57 pm
    Post #24 - February 21st, 2018, 12:57 pm Post #24 - February 21st, 2018, 12:57 pm
    Let’s name the brand: Pillar Rock canned Alaskan red salmon with the black label.

    While an elderly relative would just mush up the entire can, skin, bones and all, I take the extra time to clean it up a bit: Drain the liquid off from the can of salmon. Then slide the salmon into a bowl and use a butter knife or spoon to pry the chunks apart. Scrape off the skin and bones and discard those. You are now good to go.

    Pulverize about 2/3 of a stack of saltine crackers in a food processor – no need to get them superfine. Pieces are ok. Add to salmon along with a big tablespoon of Hellmann’s mayo, some finely chopped onion, a teaspoon of 'What’sThisHere' sauce :-) and a beaten egg. Mix well and portion out onto a large plate using any kind of scoop you have – just in order to get uniform portions. Form the scoops into nice flattish patties and dip them into some bread crumbs – whatever you have, dry plain or Italian seasoned or more cracker crumbs or panko. Sauté gently in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet until heated through and browned on both sides.

    Now here is the official True Retro part: serve with a gravy made from a can of Campbell's mushroom soup thinned with a bit of milk and with a half cup of frozen green peas. Heat all this together and ladle over the cooked salmon patties and some mashed potatoes. Comfort food at its finest!
  • Post #25 - February 21st, 2018, 1:26 pm
    Post #25 - February 21st, 2018, 1:26 pm Post #25 - February 21st, 2018, 1:26 pm
    My elementary school lunches in the early 70's were properly dread-worthy with 2 exceptions: salmon patties and pizza. The salmon patties were just a perfect rendition. The pizza was not traditional (I don't think our cook ever tasted an actual pizza) but an accidental concoction along the lines of Rocky Rococo's interpretation of a Sicilian slice.

    Most other days I opted for PB&J.
  • Post #26 - February 21st, 2018, 1:40 pm
    Post #26 - February 21st, 2018, 1:40 pm Post #26 - February 21st, 2018, 1:40 pm
    Joy, that sounds exactly right! Tnx for the description.

    The cooks in the St. Joseph's School cafeteria in the early 50s Ft. Collins were legendary marvels. Schools in those days had cupboards full of gov't surplus foods left over from WW2, esp. canned goods. They used the canned chicken to make incredible chicken à la king over homemade flaky biscuits. I still dream of that, 65 years later.

    But their other magnificent dish was tuna-noodle casserole, using the surplus canned tuna. I don't know what else they did--I suspect that they made a bechamel-cream sauce from other surplus good--but the noodles were always perfectly coated in a rich, creamy sauce liberally suffused with chunks of tuna. My mom's was good (she used the mushroom soup version), but in the end lived in the shadow of the cafeteria cooks' version. Fridays, esp. in Lent, were rarely painful at St. Joseph's school.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #27 - February 21st, 2018, 2:55 pm
    Post #27 - February 21st, 2018, 2:55 pm Post #27 - February 21st, 2018, 2:55 pm
    I know that I have posted this elsewhere, but one of the things I remember most from teaching was lunch. Whatever they had for lunch one day, we would see for soup the next. Their crowning achievement was Cream of Fish Stick soup. It was really good! Much better than Steak Sandwich soup.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #28 - February 26th, 2018, 10:09 pm
    Post #28 - February 26th, 2018, 10:09 pm Post #28 - February 26th, 2018, 10:09 pm
    Once in a while I like the Gorton Potato Crunch Fish Fillets. I also use Gortons occasionally for a quick fish taco.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #29 - March 1st, 2018, 2:00 pm
    Post #29 - March 1st, 2018, 2:00 pm Post #29 - March 1st, 2018, 2:00 pm
    leek wrote:I know that I have posted this elsewhere, but one of the things I remember most from teaching was lunch. Whatever they had for lunch one day, we would see for soup the next. Their crowning achievement was Cream of Fish Stick soup. It was really good! Much better than Steak Sandwich soup.

    Lee,

    Do you have a rough description of how this soup was made? From a quick look around the internet, there are no recipes for fish stick soup. Lots of rabbit holes where soup is incidentally mentioned with fish sticks or a fish stick casserole using canned soup. No dice for the fish stick soup, so you may influence the future with a description of what it was like.

    Thank you!

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #30 - March 1st, 2018, 3:28 pm
    Post #30 - March 1st, 2018, 3:28 pm Post #30 - March 1st, 2018, 3:28 pm
    I think it was a standard creamy soup base, with fish sticks added in at the end.

    For instance, sautée onion and garlic, toss in flour and make a light roux, gradually stir in heated chicken or veg stock with some milk. Add seasonings as desired (salt, pepper, herbs etc). Add broken up fish sticks and simmer.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org

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