Sliders (itty-bitty burgers) are all the rage. Upscale restaurants make them of Kobe beef; Steak ’n Shake recently introduced a mini menu. This recipe, ideal for Lent, uses tilapia as the protein. The recipe is from Regal Springs Tilapia, which has more kid-friendly recipes on its Web site.
Regal Springs suggests these ideas to encourage children to eat fish:
• Involve kids in the preparation and cooking process.
• Make a dish they love, but substitute fish. For example, make fish tacos, using mild fish such as tilapia.
• Use creative dips and sauces. Try ketchup, barbecue sauce, even honey.
• Let children play with their food. Encourage them to help garnish, make smiley faces on the fish with herbs and olives, and build towers with fish sticks. Also, put a sauce into a squeeze bottle and let kids decorate the fish.
• Experiment with fun shapes and sizes. Use cookie cutters to create star, heart and diamond shapes.
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
4 tilapia fillets, cut into 16 equal pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons pickle relish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 package Parker House or Hawaiian Rolls (16 rolls)
4 leaves romaine lettuce, cut into quarters
1/2 tomato, sliced
4 slices Cheddar cheese, cut into quarters
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs. In another medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt and pepper, Parmesan, cornmeal and parsley.
Dunk fillets in milk mixture and then dredge though cornmeal mixture, coating both sides evenly.
In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it is hot but not smoking, add the fillets to the pan. Cook on one side until light golden brown, about 4 minutes. Carefully turn the fillets and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Using a slotted spatula, remove them from the pan and drain on paper towels.
Meanwhile, whisk together mayonnaise, relish, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste to make tartar sauce.
Slice the buns and place a fillet on each bottom bun, then top with the lettuce, tomato, cheese and tartar sauce. Serves 8.