I am doing a fairly good job (now) of finding things I can eat but … I still miss the old familiar standbys. I miss the comforting, delicious reminders of other times . A grilled hot dog – steaming hot and crisscrossed with perfectly parallel lines. The sweet creamy crunch of my Gramma’s Snickers Apple Salad. Thick slices of salty ham. Soft white bread with a thick layer of peanut butter dripping with homemade jam sticking to the roof of my mouth.
I might not be able to eat these things anymore but… there are some comfort foods I can still call my own. Macaroni and cheese. Meatloaf. Mashed potatoes. Fish Fingers.
They just need a little adapting to completely fit my mechanical soft diet, my gluten-free diet and my GERD diet. :)
3 large egg whites (or two large whole eggs if fats are not as much of an issue for you) 1 1/2 cups gluten-free panko (You can buy these gluten-free Japanese style breadcrumbs in the specialty foods section of the grocery store or…. you can toast two pieces of gluten free bread twice to get them really crispy but not burned. Let them cool slightly and then process them in a food processor until they are fine, sandy crumbs. If you do not get 1 1/2 cups of crumbs from your bread, add enough yellow cornmeal to make it 1 1/2 cups.) 1 1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning 3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill) Salt to taste 1 lb pollack or other flaky white fish, thawed and sliced crosswise into 3/4 inch strips (I saved a step by purchasing a bag of frozen Pollack already cut into small pieces. It was advertised as being ready to add to pasta or stir fry.) Cooking Spray Tartar or other dipping sauce
Place a raised grilling rack or cookie drying rack on a large cookie sheet with edges and spray it with cooking spray.
Place the egg white in a small bowl and whisk them until they are creamy (think scrambled eggs).
In a separate bowl, mix the gluten-free panko with the Old Bay Seasoning.
In a third bowl, (okay… the recipe is easy but it does make for a lot of dirty dishes!) mix the gluten free flour with some salt as desired. (I used 1/2 tsp.)
Working with one piece at a time, dredge the fish pieces in the gluten-free flour. Shake off the excess flour and dip in the egg mixture. Coat it in the panko crumbs and place on the prepared grate. Repeat with the rest of the fish pieces. (To be honest, this will take longer than you think it will. It isn’t hard but it is tedious. It goes faster if you work with someone else and do it together. It goes even faster if you bread the fish pieces the night before and store them covered in the refrigerator until you cook them the next night. It goes fastest if, after breading the fish pieces, you freeze them in an individual layer on a cookie sheet. This takes about 2 hours. Scoop them into a gallon sized resealable freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to three months. You can cook them from frozen. You will just need to add more time for them to cook.)
Once all the fish is breaded and on the prepared pan, let them rest for about 10 minutes as you preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. (For some reason, it helps the coating stick better. If you are making baked french fries to go with, start them in the oven while the fish rests.)
Give the fish pieces a light spray with cooking spray. Bake for about 10 -12 minutes or until the coating is lightly browned and the fish is flaky.
Serve with tartar sauce or your other favorite fish finger sauce. That being said…. if you are like me and choke on the tiny pieces of pickles and capers in tartar sauce, I have a cheat you can use to make it look and taste pretty normal!
Place some Miracle Whip Light (or other lowfat mayonnaise) into a bowl. How much? However much tartar sauce you want. I used 1/2 cup Miracle Whip Light because I need a lot of sauce to get foods down. If you can tolerate it, add a dash of onion powder. If you can’t, it is okay to skip it. Instead of adding pickles or capers. Add a little bit of pickle juice from the jar to your mayonnaise. Just enough to make it taste like tartar sauce. I used 1 1/2 Tbsp. of kosher dill pickle juice. Add seasoning salt to taste. Bam! Tartar sauce with no choking hazards. :)