March 30, 2013

Fish Fingers & Custard- Celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who


Are you surprised? Are you SHOCKED? Are you excited? Are you thrilled?


Don't be like that. I gave you plenty of hints. Yes, some of them were a little obscure, but you should have gotten it from the Cinnamon Sugar Mini Doughnuts post. I mean, c'mon, there was a TARDIS mug in the photos, and I posted a picture of River Song. Could I have been more obvious?


Apparently I could have.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the premier of Doctor Who. New episodes start tonight, and then the 50th anniversary special is on November 23rd, which is the date the show first aired back in 1963, starring William Hartnell as the mysterious Doctor in An Unearthly Child.
Since that day, 11 different actors have played the Doctor, earning the love and admiration of fanboys and fangirls worldwide.
To show my own fangirly devotion, I've decided to do a series in celebration this incredible landmark. I'll be doing posts once a week for the 8 new episodes, then I'll switch it up to once a month while we're counting do to the anniversary special.

And for you non-Whovian readers, there will be two additional posts each week that have absolutely nothing to with a time traveling madman in a magic blue box that's bigger on the inside. That means three posts a week, at least until the end of the season (and if it doesn't kill me, maybe I'll keep that updating schedule afterwards. We'll see.)

So what is Doctor Who? Well, it's about this man-- actually an alien, that travels through time and space in his magic box called the TARDIS (nicknamed as such by his granddaughter Susan as we learn in An Unearthly Child, short for Time And Relative Dimension in Space). He saves worlds (often our own), fights monsters, and makes friends. Sometimes he's happy and everything turns out okay. Sometimes he gets his heart(s) broken. Oftentimes, he breaks our hearts.
And sometimes he's mad and clever and funny. Sometimes he's terrifying. But we still love him. Because, as Madame de Pompadour says, the Doctor is worth the monsters.
Anyway, the current Doctor, the 11th played by Matt Smith, is a bit of a foodie himself. Albeit one with some unusual tastes. When he first regenerates (more on that in another post), he needs to find something to eat. New mouth and new teeth make it a bit hard to find something good, until he finally settles on fish fingers and custard.
Now, as I'm not a newly regenerated Time Lord, so fish fingers and custard doesn't sound terribly appetizing to me. Until I found this recipe from Alton Brown using a savory custard that tastes almost like tartar sauce without the relish (as he calls it, TARDIS sauce. It took me a while to get that. Tartar sauce/Tardis sauce. Yeah). It's super tasty, and while it doesn't seem like it makes enough, it's so thick and rich and filling, that I had leftovers.

The fish sticks themselves were a little bit too "bready" for my tastes, and I chopped the fish into pieces a little too big, so they were more like fish croquettes than fish fingers. I also had less panko than I thought, hence the reason I use both regular and panko in the recipe. That might have made it a little more bready.
Otherwise, these were a tasty and fun meal, and the absolute perfect thing to serve to any Whovian, especially during a Doctor Who marathon. Just make sure to don a fez and a bowtie and to have your sonic screwdriver at the ready for any daleks that might emerge.


Fish Fingers and Custard {Printable Version}
Yield: About 4-6 servings

For the fish sticks:
1 lb. firm white fish fillets (Cod or haddock work well) I used flounder
¾ cup regular bread crumbs
3 eggs, divided
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. mustard
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs

For the custard:
1 cup whole milk
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. salt
1 egg yolk, whisked
½ tsp. dill
Pinch sugar (optional)
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Prepare the fish sticks: Freeze fish fillets about ½ an hour, or until firm. Chop finely. In a large bowl, mix
the fish with the regular bread crumbs, 1 egg, mayonnaise, mustard, onion powder, salt, and cayenne.
Shape into equal-sized “fingers”. Place the fingers on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Whisk the remaining eggs in a wide-mouthed, shallow container (such as a
pie plate). Add the flour to a second container, and the panko to a third. Roll the fish sticks first in flour,
then in the egg, and then in the panko. Return to the cookie sheet and bake 5 minutes. Flip the sticks
over and bake another 3-6 minutes, until lightly browned.

Prepare the custard: In a saucepan, whisk the milk, cornstarch, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and sugar
until no lumps remain. Heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture just begins to
boil. Remove from heat. A little at a time, add the milk mixture into the beaten egg yolk, whisking
constantly. Return to the saucepan and heat on low, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick enough
to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the dill and pepper.

Recipe adapted slightly from Alton Brown
P.S. April 3rd is Fish Fingers and Custard Day. So now you can consider yourselves prepared.