CRUNCHY CORN FLAKE CRUMB FISH FINGERS
Before I tell you about the magic that is corn flake coated fish fingers, I need to share the dramas of my week. Truth be told, it’s been more like ten days. All three of us managed to get struck down by gastroenteritis with the little man being hit the worse. With Archie being off nursery all week with what we thought was flu but then turned into a tummy bug on day five (when I was already damn near broken from lack of sleep), it’s been little crazy round these parts. Juggling work and sick people with no childcare and total sleep deprivation is something else
As we reached Friday, there was hope in sight. I’d managed to escape reasonably unscathed, total exhaustion aside, and was secretly congratulating myself for my resilient strength: ‘I am WOMAN! I AM MOTHER. Look at me I am made of stronger stuff’ etc etc. I even had plans to break out of the convalescent home the following night and escape for a friend’s fabulous hen do. Then POW! Saturday morning, 1 am it mowed me down with complete disregard of my inner She-Ra. Turns out gastroenteritis doesn’t give a shit about the promise of a rare night away in the bosom of cool women. Nor does it care that you have inwardly declared you're made of stronger stuff. It laughed at my self-indulgence whilst simultaneously kicking my ass.
What does all this have to do with magical corn flake coated fish fingers? I'm getting there, I promise. It’s safe to say, with all this going on food has been less of a focus than usual in our house. However, I have had the agonisingly slow job of tempting Archie back on to proper meals and off his new found milk addiction. The only thing cutting the mustard has been the dependable comfort foods he always loves: cheese on toast, sweet potatoes, soup and fish fingers. I often make my own fish fingers with bread crumbs but have been wanting to try making them with corn flakes for aggggges. So, since it was all he wanted to eat (with a healthy dollop of Kidchup) and my soul needed a challenge other than prizing him away from his new telly habit, now seemed the time to test it out.
I wanted the final coating to be fine enough for junior to get his chops around without decimating his mouth but also to have more crunch than your standard fish finger. So, I knew I needed something that could stand up to a rolling pin without immediately reducing to dust. I also wanted them to have very little salt or sugar in them when serving them to Archie. I found Doves Farm 'Gluten Free Organic Corn Flakes’ were perfect, super crunchy and very little stuff added. Turns out Archie was more than happy to get involved, helping me crush corn flakes with a rolling pin proved great fun. Prizing him away from them before they turned to dust was slightly more challenging!
I wanted to try adding a little something to the overall flavour so I threw some dried tarragon into the mix. I found it added a really nice depth to the finished fish finger and Archie loved it too but as a tarragon lover I’ve been adding it to his food since day dot. If you’re not or you think it too strong for your little one then just leave it out or try swapping it for something like ground cumin or Smoked paprika.
Corn flake fish fingers were a big hit. Supremely crunchy but also deliciously moist at the same time. They’d be brilliant slapped between 2 slices of white bread, smothered in ketchup and mayo. You could also apply the same technique to chicken breasts and make your own nuggets.
Makes 2 giant fish fingers
40G Corn flakes of your choice (I highly rate the Doves Farm ones)
20G Plain flour
1/2 Teaspoon tarragon
1 Medium egg
96G Cod Fillet
1 Tablespoon Rapeseed oil
1. Put the corn flakes into a sandwich bag and gently run a rolling pin over it repeatedly. You want to create a fineish crumb but you don't want to go so far it becomes a dust. Archie loved this bit so if you can face it let your kid loose with the rolling pin, Don't have a rolling pin? Just use a heavy bottle but be careful and don't let your toddler get involved.
2. Pour the bag of crumbs onto a plate
3. Put the plain flour onto another plate and mix in the tarragon if using. You can add salt and pepper to season the flour but I don't when cooking these for Archie
4. Whisk an egg in a shallow bowl
5. Cut the cod fillet in half to create 2 giant fish fingers
6. Line your plates up in the order you need them (not in the disorganised fashion I did above): Cod, flour, egg, crushed corn flakes and a spare plate for finished fish fingers. Then dust your fillets in the flour, shaking off any excess, dip them into the egg then roll them in the cornflakes making sure they're fully coated. Once rolled, lift more of the surrounding crumbs from around them and sprinkle more on top to make sure they're fully covered
7. heat the oil over a medium heat in a non-stick or cast iron frying pan. Carefully place the fish fingers in the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. If you feel they're getting browning too quickly just turn the heat down a little. The key is to get them crispy on the outside whilst keeping them moist in the middle so try no to over cook them. They will be white rather than opaque in the middle when cooked.
8. Place on kitchen towel to soak up any excess grease then serve!
When cooking these for Archie I do a side of wedges or sweet potato chips and something green which on the whole he chooses to ignore.