Taste Scene

Michael Devlin

Fish fingers or fish goujons?

Where do you stand on fish finger sandwiches? Red sauce or salad cream? Bread or baps?

We went through a fish finger phase in our house a while ago, mainly because the off-spring had taken a fierce notion of them. I didn’t complain though. Containing fish (as the name suggests), they are at least half good for a growing little ‘un.

Of course, some fish fingers are better than others. Chippers can be guilty of serving up the reconstituted version (which  is basically mushed up fish eyes and bone), so they’re best avoided whenever possible. And although there are some decent frozen varieties (some companies have even taken to calling them fish goujons for added fanciness), it’s hard to beat the home-made version. You can call your home-made ones fingers or goujons but in the interests of non-pretentiousness, I’m calling mine fingers.


Better still, have you ever tried smoked fish fingers? You haven’t? Well, aren’t you in for a treat.
Any smoked fish will do the trick, even the dyed variety, but if you’re lucky enough to get naturally smoked cod or haddock, it’s a different level of loveliness. They’re so good, you get to close one eye, say “Arr!” and pretend you’re Captain Birdseye.

Speaking of Captain Birdseye, why is pirating so addictive? Because when you lose your first hand you’re hooked.

This recipe makes about ten fish fingers, depending on how thick you cut the strips. The only golden rule is that you use a good meaty fish, like cod, coley or haddock or even pollock. Even non-smoked fish is great in this recipe.

• cup of plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper.
• 75g golden breadcrumbs.
• 1 large egg.
• zest of one lime.
• salt and pepper.
• about 400g of thick skin-less fish (whatever type), cut into thick strips.
• light olive oil or vegetable oil.
• yet more bread if you’re making sandwiches.

Start by laying out your production line. Beat the egg with a fork until well combined.
Set aside. Add the flour to a separate plate – set aside. Then zest the lime and add this to the breadcrumbs and put those on another plate.

Now you’re ready to go.

One at a time, dust the fish strips in the flour and when well coated, run through the egg and finally through the bread crumbs. Set the crumbed strips on another plate until you’ve them all done.


Pour your oil into a frying pan until the bottom is covered and it’s about one centimetre deep.

Heat this over a medium to high heat (it’s ready when you drop a bit of bread in and it goes golden).

Add three or four strips at a time and cook them for about five minutes altogether (depending on thickness), turning carefully now and again so they’re all-over golden. Drain on kitchen paper.

And that’s about it. I won’t insult you by suggesting how you make your fish finger sandwiches or baps but I’ll tell you this: Salad cream is hard to beat.

Alternatively, if you’ve a mind to use mayo as your lubrication, why not add a few drops of lime juice from that one you just zested?

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