As I continue down the chronologically-paved road of Disney feature-length animations, I hit upon Pinocchio. A sweet tale of a wooden puppet who becomes a real boy. There are two things no one ever talks about with this movie though.
- Jiminy was crap at his job. He wasn’t qualified to begin with and he was in over his head, but he gave up on good ole Pinoc’ way too easily and far too many times.
- Figaro is the cutest Disney cat and was never given any respect for it. Gepetto drops his interest in him the second Pinocchio comes to life and the damn fish taunts him the whole time.
The second one, we are addressing. I am making Figaro’s dream dish: Spicy Cleo Sticks. They are really just homemade fish sticks, but with more solid fish parts than the balsa wood and fillers you get in the frozen section. And we added a bit of kick to the breading.
I’m going to sit back and enjoy these fish sticks that the blue fairy turned into real food! Oh boy!
Figaro’s Spicy Cleo Sticks
½ lb. cod (or similar whitefish)
1 cup ap flour
½ tbsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tsp water
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
frying oil, if desired (i’m using an air fryer)
for tartar sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup spicy dill pickles, finely diced
¼ cup fresh dill, removed from stems and roughly chopped
zest and juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
- Set up your breading station. In one bowl, blend flour, salt, pepper and cayenne. In a second bowl, whisk together the eggs and water. In a third, dump your panko.
- Cut the fish into 3-4” strips.
- Bread your fish, starting with the flour, moving to the egg and finishing in the panko.
- Place in the air fryer on 400°F for 10 minutes. Work in batches so you don’t have a giant pile of fish.
- In the meantime, mix together the ingredients for the tartar sauce.
- Serve fish sticks, tartar sauce and additional lemon wedges if desired.
- Share with Figaro.
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