Fish Fingers, Fish Patties

This is the story of a mid-life crisis. When idealism is confronted by pragmatism. When you are forced, suddenly, to think about the way life really works.

There can be few greater shocks in a man’s life than to come home and find the missus has been feeding the kids fish fingers from the freezer. Golly, what next? Deep-frozen chicken Maryland? Pre-crumbed schnitzel? Marinara mix? Crab sticks? Hey, Dad!? All Together Now? Woman’s Day? A red sports car in the drive?

‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THIS?’ I screamed, holding the chilled packet aloft and getting the conversation off to a start not unlike the first bounce of the Grand Final. The umpire bounces the ball, the crowd roars, and it’s every man for himself. The tone and level of my opening remarks set up the potential for mayhem.

The missus, a sensible soul, and well used to such provocation, decided not to play by the rules. She all but ignored me. ‘Because,’ she said, ‘they like them. And they’re easy.’

‘Oh,’ I whispered. And we sat down in silence and I looked at their plates and there wasn’t a crumb left behind, and my brain (or conscience?) started working overtime.

How to get down to making your own fish fingers. Well not quite, but you know what I mean. Yours might not be yellow, and they’re unlikely to make perfect rectangular shapes, and the insides won’t be pure white, and they won’t all taste the same, but they’re all yours.

200 g firm-fleshed, inexpensive fish (trevally, blue eye. flake, blue grenadier)

100 g smoked trout

50 g unsalted butter, softened

100 g cooked potato

juice of ½ lemon

zest of 1 lemon

1 chilli, sliced finely

2 teaspoons curry powder

pinch of salt

black pepper

1 bunch of dill, chopped roughly – Other herbs will do, but dill and fish is magic.

1 egg

a little milk

plain flour

breadcrumbs from stale bread

a little oil


Make sure all the bones are removed from the fish and the smoked trout. Cut the fish into chunks and toss into the food processor with the butter, potato, lemon juice and zest, chilli, curry powder, salt and black pepper. Process until chopped up, but still retaining some chunkiness. You don’t want a purée.


Add the dill, and form into hamburger-style shapes – or roll into cigar shapes and block off into rectangles if you really want them to look like fish fingers.


For the coating, beat the egg with a little milk. Then dip the fish fingers into the flour, then the egg and then the breadcrumbs.


Fry in a little oil (in a pan which can go into the oven) until the coating is firm on one side. Put into an oven previously heated to 200°C, and bake until firm (about 10 minutes). If you’re making a lot, you can allow a batch to cool and at this stage, package and freeze. Just like the ‘real’ thing. Serve with White Crow tomato sauce. (Just joking!)

WINE: The temptation with fingers will be to pull out the cheapest bottle of white you have – or God forbid, a cask. Life is too short for crook wine.