Fish Fingers & Mushy Peas

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It’s throwback Thursday, and few things remind me of when my girls were young as much as fish sticks, peas, and British children’s shows–all of which were staples in my house. When my first was born, I seriously wanted to move to London, just so that she would have that adorable accent. And we named her Tegan…from the original Doctor Who (way before Doctor Who was popular). One of my favorite kiddie shows from across the pond, Charlie and Lola, started each episode with these simply, yet poignant words, “I have this little sister, Lola. She is small and very funny.” More…

It’s throwback Thursday, and few things remind me of when my girls were young as much as fish sticks, peas, and British children’s shows–all of which were staples in my house. When my first was born, I seriously wanted to move to London, just so that she would have that adorable accent. And we named her Tegan…from the original Doctor Who (way before Doctor Who was popular). One of my favorite kiddie shows from across the pond, Charlie and Lola, started each episode with these simply, yet poignant words, “I have this little sister, Lola. She is small and very funny.”

In the episode (and book) I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato.  Charlie goes on to say, “Sometimes Mom and Dad ask me to help give Lola her dinner. This is a hard job because Lola is a very fussy eater.” Charlie then comes up with an ingenious way to cajole Lola into trying—and actually liking—her plate of food.

If you have not heard of Charlie and Lola—a bit of background—the book set–turned delightful TV series–follows a curious four-or-five-year-old, Lola, and her nearly-perfect older brother, Charlie as they make their way in the world. We often times see Charlie explaining the inter-workings of the world to his sissy and teaching her through some clever means.

In the book and episode, I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato, Lola stresses, “I do not eat peas or carrots or potatoes or mushrooms or spaghetti or eggs or sausages. I do not eat cauliflower or cabbage or baked beans or bananas or oranges. And I am not keen on apples or rice or cheese or fish fingers. And I will not ever never eat a tomato.”  Charlie then wiles Lola into eating a meal of fish fingers, peas, carrots, and mashed potatoes by giving each item on the plate colorful names. Mashed potatoes become cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji. Peas become rare green drops from Greenland. And fish fingers become ocean nibbles for mermaids from under the sea. Bite by bite, Lola submits and tries all the foods. Something definitely worth trying with your own persnickety diners; and I have the perfect meal to try it with: fish fingers and mushy peas.

You will need to rebrand them, of course! Fish fingers and mushy peas sound sort of funny even to the adventurous. So just to get your creative juices flowing, I will give you a few ideas. For the little space traveler, you might call the fish fingers hot Martian trees and the mushy peas glowing alien slime. For your tiny camper, you might refer to them as campfire logs and fairy forest moss. If you want to take it even farther, you could let your little ones play with their food. Maybe you have a wee architect, and could call the fish fingers bricks and the mushy peas mortar and let him build a house, brick by brick. Or, perhaps you have a petite history buff and suggest that she build Stonehenge with craggy old stones atop brilliant emerald grass.

Whatever way you choose to describe your fish fingers and mushy peas, don’t be surprised if you here the following from their oh-so-small mouths in regards to the meal, “You are my favorite, and my best!”, which just happens to be my most cherished quote from Charlie and Lola!

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Salmon Fish Fingers

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • tamari sauce, to cover fish
  • 220 grams of pretzels (I use Glutino GF pretzels)
  • 75 grams of ground flax (preferably golden)
  • 1 egg

Mushy Peas

INGREDIENTS

  • 453 grams of petite peas (about 1 frozen bag)
  • knob of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of minced fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon of minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
  • 3 green onions, white and green, sliced thinly
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional Dipping Sauce

  • tamari sauce
  • 1 green onion, sliced thinly
  • hot oil

MISE EN PLACE

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut salmon fillets into 1″ strips, put in shallow pan, and cover with tamari.
  3. Blitz pretzels and flax in food processor and put in shallow bowl.
  4. Get peas out.
  5. Mince dill, tarragon, and mint.
  6. Slice green onion.
  7. Whisk one egg.
  8. Make sure salt and pepper are within reach.

STEP ONE
Remove salmon sticks from tamari. Pat semi-dry. Drop sticks in egg, and then pretzel mixture. Lightly shake off excess crumb and place on cookie sheet. Pop in oven for about 15 minutes, turning half way through.

STEP TWO
Cook peas, either on stove top or in microwave oven. Once done, put in the same food processor that was used for pretzel crumbs (assuming you already took the pretzel mixture out). Add herbs and green onion. Pulse to break down. Taste; adding salt and pepper as needed. Pulse again, but should be slightly chunky still.

COOK’S NOTES
The fish fingers should be tender and flaky with a slightly sweet and salty crust from the pretzels. The mushy peas with be bursting with flavor and sweetness. Adults version may want to have a separate dipping sauce. A quick solution; simply pour a bit of tamari in a small bowl and add a few green onions and some hot oil. Or, if you are a kid–or kid at heart–simply use the mushy peas as your dip for the fish fingers; as I do!

Serves four.

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