22 March, 2011

Fishy Delights 43: Sea Queen Crunchy Fish Fillets and a Tartar Sauce Recipe

Okay, I admit it:  I like fish sticks, and I don't really care how cheap or gnarly they are (as long as there aren't, like, bones or fins or a chunk of fish head staring out at me when I break the crispy crumb coating with my fork.)

Other people in the family, however, are more particular, so I always double-check labels to make sure that the breaded fish patty products I am purchasing are made from whole fillets and not "minced fish."

That's how I found out about ALDI's Sea Queen brand Crunchy Fish Fillets. I was actually shopping for larger fish patties - something I could use to make fish sandwiches - and I was conned by the box art to think I was getting sandwich-sized fish fillets.  What I actually got was a box of ten roughly trapezoidal-shaped fish portions, wider on one side than on the other, each with about two fishstick's-worth of material inside them.  So: fish fillet fail, but fishstick VICTORY.

As for the fish fillets themselves:  Judging against other fish sticks I've had, these are top-notch.  The fish within (Theragra chalcogramma, aka Alaska pollack or Walleye pollack) is flaky and tender.  They're covered with a crunchy crumb coating, also very good.

The flavor holds up well to both tartar sauce and cocktail sauce, so they're just as good on the plate as they are in a fish sandwich.  And if you have any leftovers, they reheat decently in the microwave.  (Personally, I don't bother reheating them - I love 'em cold right out of the fridge for a snack.)

Luckily, Crunchy Fish Fillets don't seem to be an ALDI "special purchase," so you can nearly always find them in the freezer case. I'm glad about that because we buy them fairly regularly.

Hey, speaking of tartar sauce, here's my recipe - I hate buying bottled tartar sauce, and this takes only a minute or so to whip up:

Tartar Sauce
Makes about half a cup

¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
about a tablespoon of lemon juice (adjust to taste)
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
Salt to taste

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and serve with fish, or use as a condiment on fish sandwiches.  You can serve it immediately, or make it an hour or two ahead and let it sit (refrigerated) to allow the flavors to combine.

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