Test Kitchen

Halibut Fingers with Herbed Mayonnaise

Get back to your childhood fish sticks but this time make them delicious, with fresh fish and an amazing dipping sauce.

We always try to come up with different appetizers to start off a night of drinks with friends. There is something about deep frying that adds a bit of a dramatic effect to the night as, especially now, people tend to shy away from the splattering of hot oil while hosting a dinner. From time-to-time it is well worth the effort, and though everyone says they want light and simple, they truly want over-the-top delicious.

Frozen food was never in the house growing up, so there was an added charm to a good night out at a friend’s house, where Gorton’s Fish Sticks would be baked and topped up with a slice of individually wrapped yellow cheese. They were always crowd pleasers, though I’d guess it would not be less of a big hit now.

One night, we were hankering for some throw-back treat and decided to make our own fish sticks, this time using halibut from a fresh seafood market. Instead of topping with cheese, we made a herbed basil mayonnaise as a dip.


  • For the Dip
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup fill sprigs, stems removed, packed full
  • 1/2 cup basil, packed full
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 drizzles of Sriracha
  • For the Fried Fish Fingers
  • 2 pounds of haddock, cut into 1 inch strips, patted dry
  • 10 cups of canola oil for deep frying the fish
  • 2 cups of cornmeal, you can you finely ground or course, depends on the crunch factor you desire
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk with two tablespoons of sriracha sauce whisked in
  • 2 extra large eggs

Making It

  • Place all the ingredients for the dip in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, then pulse until fully combined. It is best to do this a few hours in advance and let the ingredients come together in the refrigerator.
  • Combine the cornmeal, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Beat two eggs, add the buttermilk and sriracha, then whisk together. Put the fish strips in and let set for 5 minutes, then use tongs to remove. Shake off excess and dip in the cornmeal before laying out on a baking sheet.
  • Put the oil in a heavy pot with a candy thermometer, getting the temperature to 350 degrees. Add each piece of fish one at a time, but be quick about it as they cook in a minute. Use a slotted spoon to turn each strip once, then remove and drain on a paper grocery bag or paper towels. Season with salt and serve.

1 comment on “Halibut Fingers with Herbed Mayonnaise

  1. Karen Thomas

    Love this. Thanks. Perfect for the filets in the freezer.

    Stay safe!

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