These cod bites are perfectly delicious to serve to adults, but I started making them because I was looking for different foods to cook for my son. He really enjoys helping me and I love knowing that he is getting “real food” to eat and also learning a very valuable life skill by helping in the preparation. There were many years in my life that it didn’t cross my mind that it was possible to make these and home! I actually thought the only way I could have, golden, crispy fish for dinner was to make a visit to my frozen food section at my local grocery store.
Breading is a great way to get children involved in cooking. My son is 2 1/2, so I can’t really trust him with anything too difficult, but it is amazing what those little fingers can do if you have a little patience and find a task they are able to help with. For example, I know he can’t judge if the nuggets have the right amount of egg or the proper amount of crumb coating, but I know he can make sure every piece of cod is rolled in the flour. He gives me the fish pieces after he is done gently (and sometimes not so gently) tossing them in the flour bowl and then I make sure the pieces make it through the rest of the breading process. I also allow him to arrange them on the pan. Sometimes, I find the chef/mom in me wants to take over and do it for him so that we can hurry, get it done “right”, or so that we won’t make too much of a mess, but then again, messes can always be cleaned up.
One trick for helping with a toddler mess, or a mess of your own, is to cover your counter top with a few overlapping strips of plastic wrap. Then, when you are done with the preparations, just roll it up and, Ta-da! (As my son says) You have a clean counter again! Unfortunately, I don’t have a magical cure for crumbs that find their way to the floor, other than to allow your dog in the kitchen or to also teach your child another life skill….vacuuming!
Cod Bites with Lemon Chili Tartar Sauce
· 12 ounces cod loin, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
· 1 cup flour
· 1 teaspoon kosher salt
· ½ teaspoon black pepper, fresh cracked
· 1/2 cup liquid egg, I use this for simplicity, but you can also use 4 large eggs, whipped
· 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
· 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
· ¼ teaspoon black pepper, fresh cracked
· ½ teaspoon garlic powder
· ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
Lemon Chili Tartar Sauce
· 3/4 cup mayonnaise
· 1 tablespoon grated red onion
· 1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
· 1 tablespoon pickle relish
· 1 teaspoon lemon zest
· 1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce
Preheat oven to 400. To set up your breading station, place the flour, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper in a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside. Place the egg into a second bowl and in a third bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, old bay, pepper, garlic powder and parmesan. Dredge each piece of cod in the flour, being sure to coat all sides. Next, dip it into the egg, making sure it is well coated. Let any excess egg drip off. Next, roll the cod piece into the panko mixture and cover all sides. Place the cod pieces onto a lightly greased baking sheet and repeat the process until all the cod is breaded. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the breading is golden brown and the fish feels firm to the touch. While the cod bites are baking, prepare the tartar sauce by whisking all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Remove the cod bites from the oven, serve with tartar sauce and enjoy!