Thursday, September 27, 2007

Doesn't have to be deep fried to taste good...

Just because you don't deep fry does not mean that you have to give up that crisp texture or favorite comfort dishes. We cooked two recipes tonight for dinner that took a new look at classic fried foods and made them a bit healthier without feeling like you're missing out.

The first, which quickly shot up our list of favorites, was a snazzy recipe for Garlic Fries that are roasted in the oven. Slender sticks of russet potatoes are tossed in just enough olive oil to allow the salt to adhere and give them a wonderful color in the oven. Right before you take them out, a couple tablespoons of butter are melted and infused with a heavy dose of minced garlic. The crisp fries are then tossed into the skillet with a shower of sharp Parmesan cheese and bright fresh parsley quickly following behind. While the garlic is very present, it is tempered somewhat by the butter to let the potato flavor break through. I would not hesitate to reach for a cone of these over any greasy deep-fried potatoes any day!

I think the next recipe we tackled, Baked Fish Sticks, would be great to make for those picky eaters, while adding quite a healthy spin with lots of whole grains. You could use any firm white fish that you like, but we decided to use fillets of cod. For a little compromise, the strips of cod are first dusted with all-purpose flour instead of using whole wheat - you could certainly try whole wheat flour, but I think the finer texture of all-purpose clings better. The whole grains come in at this point - once the fish go for a dip in a couple egg whites, they are completely coated in a mixture of crunchy whole wheat panko breadcrumbs and whole-grain cereal flakes (we used Wheaties) that have been seasoned with lemon pepper, garlic, paprika and salt.

Because of the coarse nature of these ingredients, the breadcrumb mixture is first whirled in a food processor to create a finer coating that will stick better. Once all of the strips of cod have been coated, we lightly spritzed them with olive oil and baked them for a quick 10 minutes. The light spray of olive oil helps crisp up and give the breadcrumb coating a rich golden color. With a taste much fresher than you could ever get from a frozen boxed version, the textural difference between the moist tender inside and the crunchy exterior was very pleasing. We loved these on their own, but I bet these would make a killer filling for some fish tacos.


  1. Very pretty with the cone, Joe! They look quite tasty.

  2. Yumm, the garlic fries look so good and crispy!!!
    Do you think this would work with yukon gold-type potatoes Joe??
    I know they work well for this but I am not a big fan of russet (in either flavor or texture...). I guess I will have to try that to see! (can't wait!!!)

  3. Both of those look amazing. I bet those fish sticks would be great with panko.

    (I'm a long time reader, don't have a food blog yet, but am currently attending culinary school in Florence, Italy)

  4. Jen - Thanks! We thought it was fun.

    Ana - It could, but not sure if the texture would be the same. I'd love to know how it works out! I like the Yukon golds too.

    Toni - Thank you! I'm very envious of your current location!