My son is the pickiest eater on the planet. I know your child is picky too, but don’t fight me on this because my son is even pickier. Promise.
Here’s a good example about his quasi-relationship with vegetables. He considers six peas his vegetable serving for the day. He wipes the dressing off a tiny piece of spinach with a paper towel and then chews it in his mouth for 10 minutes before painfully, and dramatically, swallowing it. He chokes when I ask him to try cauliflower smothered in cheese.
Somehow, someway, I have gotten this child to eat fish. He hems and haws. He whines and moans. He gets up from the table 5,000 times until he says, “Hey Mom, you know what? This isn’t so awful. I actually 50 percent like it.” Here are four dishes your child will at least 50 percent enjoy. (And probably love, but since he’ll never admit it, you’ll have to take a clean plate as proof.)
1. Fish Fingers
Like fish sticks but more fun. My kids love the bubbles the batter makes. Tastes delicious with ketchup or tartar sauce.
(Made with a little help from Fish Without A Doubt by Rick Moonen and Roy Finnamore)
1 large egg
1 1/2 cup of cold seltzer or club soda
2 cups of self-rising cake flour (which means it already has salt and baking powder added)
1 ½ pounds of Pacific cod (Atlantic cod is not sustainable)
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Whisk the egg. Add seltzer until it froths up, then add flour.
Slice cod in 3-inch long fingers, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat at least 3 inches of oil in a deep pot. Set up a rack near the stove for drying.
Drop fish in batter, then with bamboo skewer, dunk fish halfway in oil and hold it for 3 seconds. Shake the fish off the skewer into the pot and fry until the crust is golden brown (about 4 minutes).
Let fish drain on the rack.
2. Fish Sandwich With Panko
Panko is a crunchy breadcrumb made from bread without crust — it makes this fish sandwich light and crunchy. (Duh, that’s why my kids love it.)
½ cup panko
¾ of a pound of white fish cut into sandwich-sized portions (you can make with either Pacific halibut, flounder or Pacific cod)
Salt and pepper
Tartar sauce or ketchup
Preheat oven to 375.
Lightly oil baking pan
Set up two dredging stations. Fill one plate of panko. Beat one egg in deep bowl.
Dredge fish in egg then in panko. Place in oiled dish and bake for 25-30 minutes until panko is golden brown and fish is simmering. (Turn fish over about 15 minutes in.)
Stuff between toasted buns. Eat.
3. BBQ Salmon With Yogurt
The secret to this dish is that most kids love yogurt and they can drench the salmon in it. (Picky ones can remove cucumbers.)
(Adapted from JamieOliver.com)
1 lb. of wild Alaskan salmon
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Handful of chopped fennel tops or basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cucumber, peeled lengthwise
1 ½ cups yogurt
1 fresh red chili, deseeded and chopped
Handful of fresh mint, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Cut small incisions in salmon all over fleshy side. Scatter the lemon zest and most of the chopped fennel tops or basil over the salmon, then push herbs into the incisions.
Rub the fish with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper including skin side.
Place salmon on the grill, skin side down for about 4 minutes (skin should be golden brown). Turn salmon over and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more on the other side. (Watch for overcooking.) While it’s grilling, gently pull skin away from the fish and place it on grill to crisp up. When serving skin, break up in pieces.
Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, discard seeds, then chop and mix with the yogurt. Add lemon juice, half the chopped chili and half the mint. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Break the salmon up and serve with the cucumber yogurt.
4. Pasquetti with Clams
Okay, this isn’t exactly fish, but it’s my grandmother’s favorite seafood dish. No surprise, my daughter, Elke loved it. No surprise, Jake wouldn’t touch it. (Yet, both agreed that the clams were cool!) Remove clams and the picky kid is happy with a plate of pasquetti. Or spaghetti.
(Adapted from Dinner A Love Story)
1 shallot or small onion
1 clove of minced garlic
Dash red pepper flakes, pepper
½ cup chopped parsley
½ container of grape or cherry tomatoes chopped in half
1 cup of frozen corn
½ cup white wine
12-20 fresh clams
In a large pot, sauté shallot or onion, garlic, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and pepper.
Add the clams, wine and herbs. Steam on medium or medium high until clams open. (If the clams are large you might put the top on for a few minutes to get the steam going.)
Add tomatoes and corn.
Discard any clams that didn’t open then toss with pasta. Uh-mazing.