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Sunday, 12 September 2010

Filet O'Fish (Fingers)

It is perhaps fitting that this, the inaugural posting in my new Blog, is nothing more than an attempt at reproducing the guilty pleasure of that late-Friday-night McDonalds. Who knows, perhaps guilty pleasures will become a running theme (*adds label*) as this Blog develops.

The idea occurred to me as I've often heard tales of fish finger sandwiches, and the McDonalds Filet O' Fish is essentially just that - a slab of battered fish (not reclaimed - possibly the only McDonald product that can make this boast), a slice of processed cheese, a dash of tartare sauce... inna bun.

So, here's where I stretch the definition of 'ingredients':
  • A Bun (any kind will do, so choose your preference. I used Kingsmill 50/50 because, you know, fibre and stuff. They're a bit small, frankly, but serviceable... and can work well if lightly toasted)
  • Fish Fingers (go for a halfway decent make, not a shop's own brand. 3-4 required, depending on the size of the bun)
  • Processed Cheese Slices (1 if it's a reasonably good make, 2 if you've gone cheapo-cheapo)
  • Tartare Sauce (any kind will do, again... but I've heard it suggested that 'home made is the best')

Preparation Time: 12 minutes
(for the fish fingers, that is. If you're dim, like me, it's worth remembering that you can actually progress the bun part of the equation while the fishy fingers are cooking, thus saving a couple of minutes at the end, during which time the fish fingers might (a) start going cold and (b) get stuck to the blasted baking tray. Damn, but I hate scraping stuff off those things.)

Tools Required (other than an oven/grill... come on, keep up!):
  • Knife (to cut the bun, unless you bought pre-cut... in which case, you're even lazier than I am for crying out loud)
  • Other Knife (with which to spread the Tartare Sauce upon the inner surface of the bun)
  • Oven Gloves
  • Spatula/Egg Turner 
  • Baking Tray

Process:
Retreive thy packet of fishy fingers from yon freezer, and read the instructions that appear thereupon. Set oven accordingly (let's assume preheating to an average of about 210degrees, with the cooking time set to about 12 minutes). Once the oven is preheated, place thy fishy fingers upon a baking tray, which can then be safely ensconced within yon furnace of food preparation.

I am assuming, by the way, that when I refer to 'fishy fingers' you're all quite aware that I'm talking about the kind that are coated in breadcrumbs or batter. If not... Ew.

With a timer set to go go off once the proper cooking time has elapsed, turn thy attention upon thy buns.

No, the ones made of bread, you fools.

Cut the bun open, to facilitate the later insertion of additional foodstuffs. Unless, again, you're using pre-cut buns. Tsk. Take one (or two) slice (or slices) of processed cheese, and lay upon the lower half of the bun. Spread a good-sized dollop of Tartare Sauce (note: one Dollop = approximately five Teaspoons, by my reckoning. Three if heaped) over the upper half of the bun. Now go off and do something else for the remaining 11 minutes of cooking time.

Upon the sounding of the alarums, retrieve the cooked, still-sizzlin' fishy fingers from the oven (this is where the oven gloves come in, folks) and collect them up with the spatula/egg turner. Transpose to bun, laying them neatly upon the processed cheese slice(s), which should begin melting in a pleasant fashion. Close bun, aiming to apply enough pressure that the Tartare Sauce bulges out the sides but does not ooze and drip. It's tricky, but you'll get there in the end. I have faith in you.

The Results:
Well, it's not exactly a Filet O' Fish, but it's a reasonable approximation. The interplay between the fish, the Tartare Sauce and the processed cheese slice(s) is subtle, depending largely on the quality of the processed cheese and, in hindsight, perhaps a firmer bun would have been preferable. Certainly tasty and quick.

The Alternatives:
I'm considering trying this with Salmon fish fingers and a Dill Sauce... but I'm not sure the processed cheese slice would still be an appropriate accompaniment. Naturally, the subject of 'salad' will come up sooner or later, and a slice of lettuce would probably work well with the Cod/Haddock varieties. Other cheeses could be used, but I'd caution against even the likes of Cheddar... Something fairly plain like Edam or Emmenthal might be agreeable.

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