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Fish Fingers with Creamy Polenta

Fish Fingers with Creamy Polenta

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Fish Fingers

  • 6 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3 pound striped bass or catfish fillets, cut into 4x3/4x3/4' strips


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more
  • 2 cups medium-grind stone-ground polenta or grits
  • 1 8-oz. package cream cheese or mascarpone, room temperature
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)

Recipe Preparation

Fish Fingers

  • Whisk flour, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs in another medium bowl to blend. Place cornmeal in another medium bowl; season with 1 tsp. salt. Season fish with remaining 3 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Working in batches, dredge fish in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Coat with egg, then roll in cornmeal; shake off extra cornmeal and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover; chill for at least 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Keep chilled.


  • Bring cream, butter, 2 tsp. salt, and 9 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Slowly whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook, whisking often, for 20 minutes. Uncover; cook, stirring frequently, until thick and creamy, adding more water if too thick, about 20 minutes longer. Add cream cheese and Pecorino; stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Meanwhile, pour oil into a large heavy pot to a depth of 2". Attach a deep-fry thermometer to side of pot and heat over medium heat to 375°. Working in batches, fry fish fingers, turning occasionally, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt and serve with polenta.

Nutritional Content

One serving contains: Calories (kcal) 893.9 %Calories from Fat 54.1 Fat (g) 53.8 Saturated Fat (g) 27.5 Cholesterol (mg) 290.9 Carbohydrates (g) 50.9 Dietary Fiber (g) 5.4 Total Sugars (g) 3.5 Net Carbs (g) 45.6 Protein (g) 48.9 Sodium (mg) 1441.1Reviews Section

One of the scariest statistics we’ve heard in recent years is the prediction that we may have fishless oceans by 2048 due to overfishing, pollution and loss of biodiversity.

With 90 per cent of the world’s wild ‘fish stocks’ fully-exploited due to overfishing, it’s time we turned the tide and stopped looking at fish as an unlimited source of food and leave them where they belong – in the ocean.

Leaving our fishy friends alone however doesn’t mean we have to miss out on meals we enjoy such as fish and chips, fishcakes or salmon bagels however as there are plenty of creative ways to replace fish and seafood with plant-based ingredients which are better for you and the planet too.

Here are some of our favourite vegan seafood and fish recipes that look and taste like the real thing…

Tofu Fish Fingers

Fish fingers are such a childhood favourite that it seemed a good idea to veganise them! Since this recipe was published originally, it's now possible to buy them ready-made, eg Quorn and VBites brands. But we thought you'd like a home-made version too! There's also a quick recipe for tartar sauce should you prefer it over the usual tomato option.

Serve with mash and peas or on a sandwich.

Product info

  • Nori is a sea vegetable usually wrapped around sushi - those black sheets! It's a tasty food that is also a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin A. It's available in larger supermarket branches, Oriental grocers and health food shops as well as online.
  • Plain firm tofu - medium firm, firm or extra firm - is best pressed in this recipe if you have time. See our tofu guide Plain firm tofu is slightly more rough textured and is usually used in stir-fried and the like - very different from softer, creamier silken tofu. Well-known brands of firm plain include Cauldron, Dragonfly and Pulmone.
  • Vegan mayonnaise (for tartar sauce): Follow Your Heart Vegenaise Plamil - and lots of other brands. Or make your own cheaply and quickly - click here for our popular Aquafaba Mayo!

For more information about fish - health, environment and welfare - check out Viva! Fish-free for Life guide Viva! Fish campaign info Viva!End of the Line Guide and Viva! Fish Report


Tofu Fish Fingers
450g/1lb firm tofu, drained – get the extra firm variety if you can (Oriental stores) but otherwise, medium firm such as Cauldron et al will do. Try and press it if you have time – see above
120g/4oz fine polenta (cornmeal) OR 75g/2½oz plain white flour
60g/2oz flaked almonds
2 tsp flaked almonds
2 tsp nori flakes – ready-made nori sprinkles or a sheet crushed up in a spice grinder or similar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ small bunch dill OR ½ tsp dried if you can’t get it
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
80ml/3fl oz unsweetened plant milk, eg soya, almond etc
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil or spray

Tartar Sauce. Makes one jar, so halve or quarter quantities if preferred
300ml vegan mayo
2 tsp capers, drained and rinsed
2 tsp sweet pickle - if large lumps, chop fine
1 tsp fresh chives, chopped (optional)

Tofu press or home-made version if using baking tray measuring spoons and jug chopping board and knife baking paper pastry brush blender or food processor dish for the coating bowl for the dipping milk fish slice for turning and serving fork or spoon to mix up the tartar sauce ingredients

How do you make Mais Moulin?

There’s no real science to it. Think of it as making grits. Some Haitians will cook mais moulin for hours. Now, imagine being hungry and you have to wait for 2 hours for the “cornmeal” to be ready. That’s bizarre! But the flavor on the hand, let’s just say at the end of the meal you will want to lick your fingers.

I, on the other hand, do not spend much time preparing mais moulin for many reasons. My number one reason is, it is NOT NECESSARY!

In a nutshell, it’s GRITS. No need to cook it for 2 plus hours.

Purchase the Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal Coarse Grind, 24 Ounces at Walmart, or if you prefer a less expensive brand, try Iberia ( Iberia Yellow Corn Meal, Coarse, 24 Oz). I like Iberia because it is only $2.76 per pack and you can find it at your local grocery store or most international store.

You can feed your family within minutes!

It is tasty and filling. Everyone will enjoy a delicious meal in a short period of time.

Latest Video

Did you make this 15 – Minutes Mais Moulin (Creamy Polenta / Haitian Cornmeal)? Tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can share your picture. I’d also appreciate if you would please give it a star rating below!

    1. Bring milk and whipping cream to boil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Gradually whisk polenta into milk mixture in slow steady stream. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook polenta until creamy and tender, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    2. Preheat broiler. Transfer cooked polenta to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Sprinkle Gorgonzola cheese over polenta. Broil until cheese melts. Sprinkle with chopped toasted walnuts and serve immediately.
    1. *Polenta (coarse yellow cornmeal) is available at Italian markets, natural foods stores and some supermarkets. If unavailable, substitute 1 cup regular yellow cornmeal, and cook mixture for about 12 minutes rather than 20 minutes.

    If you have ever cooked polenta, either with water, milk or cream, you realize that it is in two states. The first, as it comes from the stove, is creamy and moist, depending on how much liquid you use. After it cools, it hardens and can be sliced. When it is fried, it can picked up. But it is never solid until after it cools.

    I've made this many times with great success and excellent reviews. You can use milk, half & half or simply water. and it will hold together better. It's not meant as a finger food, but one to be eaten with a fork. To the reviewer who didn't like it because it fell apart in her guests fingers, again I mention, it is not meant to be a picked up in your fingers. The other important thing to do is use good cheese, it really makes the dish. Also, for a very easy clean-up, simply soak the cooking pot in cold water and the remaining polenta will come right off. For excellent information and cooking instructions I would suggest that you look at some of Jamie Oliver's cookbooks and/or find his recipes online. They are the best!

    Love this recipe. I use 1% milk and skip the cream. The gorgonzola is rich and salty in itself. I serve this with veal shanks, veal stew, beef shanks. It would be great with any type of braised meat.

    This was very, very good. I took a reviewer's suggestion and made it ahead, put it in the fridge, then warmed it on a low microwave setting before putting under the broiler. Used mostly 2% milk, and it came out in neat slices. Not firm enough to pick up though.

    Fabulous. one of the best parts of my totally do-ahead entertaining menu off Epicurious. Antipasto Stuffed Baguettes for the appetizer, Osso Bucco with Tomatoes, Olives and Gremolata, Polenta with Gorgonzola, a salad - tricolore works well and then the dessert that always wows - Raspberry Semifreddo Torte. Make the polenta the day before, put it in a pie dish and then warm it the next day while reheating the Osso Bucco. Top it with the cheese once it's warm turn on the broiler and melt the cheese. Voila! Always a hit with guests and you've done ALL the work days before!

    Wow Wow Wow is this so amazing. The flavor is out of the world and it got such rave reviews. I ended up using 2% milk and the whipping cream and it was perfect. The only thing I would have done differently is put it in a more shallow baking dish as the dish I used was too deep so you didn't get enough topping with each bite. The topping makes the dish.

    Whoo-wee! Verrrry rich! This needs to be balanced on the plate with a nice crisp salad, fresh tomatoes or something that will help cut the creamy richness. That being said, it is delicious - and the walnuts are key. We had it as part of a vegetarian meal along with stuffed zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and fresh asparagus - no one missed the meat!

    I reduced liquid by 1/2 cup (and used 4 cups fat free cream) and put mixture in a glass pie dish to broil. (no nuts) I sliced like a pie and served under fish with spiced green beans - yum!

    We loved this recipe! Definately use a good gorgonzola if possible. I used 2 cups cream & 2 1/2 cups skim milk, as that's what I had on hand. Also added 1 T. butter to the cooked polenta. Definately will make again!

    Oh gosh, this was amazingly good! I've made it many times, for us two here at home, fancy dinners and potlucks and even doubling the recipe usually isn't enough. Yes, it's a creamy dish, though reducing the liquid can change that somewhat. I disagree with the cook who suggested plenty of salt in the cooking process. Gorgonzola is a salty cheese, and part of the dish's appeal is the contrast between the piquant saltiness of the melted cheese and the creamy sweetness of the polenta. Oh, and I use Costco's domestic gorgonzola, works fine and isn't expensive at all.

    Note to the others who left reviews regarding the consistency of this polenta. it's suppose to be creamy. This is a "bowl" of polenta.

    Just a quick note to the cook from Michigan, if you make polenta with milk or cream, you can't pick it up, that's why it's called creamy polenta. You have to use stock or water if you want to cut it up into handheld pieces, or to grill it, etc.

    I followed the instructions to a "T". I used the dulce goronzola. This was an expensive disaster. I was ashamed watching my guests pick it up and see it fall apart in their hands. If this is supposed to be served as a mush, I don't see that information in the reciped anywhere. I am swearing off polenta for ever more!

    I first read about this dish from the Union Square Cafe menu. It sounded so incredible and it is. The flavors go together well, I served it with italian sausage and grilled vegetables. I found another version on the web that adds marscapone, so I added that as well. I will definitely make this again and I will especially make it for company.

    I normally dislike polenta, but I loved this recipe. We served it with filet mignon in a roasted red pepper sauce and it was amazing. I used cambanzola (sp?) cheese rather than the gorganzola - it is creamier and "softer." For a leftover appetizer, we cut it into little squares, reheated it, and drizzled balsamic vinegar over it.

    I've made this several times, both for occasions and simple meals at home. I'm a great fan of polenta, and this is one of the best recipes I've found. easy and quick to make. Last time I tried using fat free half & half (from Trader Joe's), and it worked perfectly while taking out much of the fat. Yum!

    This was wonderful in my view, but interestingly enough, this is one recipe that people either gobble up or don't eat at all. Probably the blue cheese, which some don't like. I did use the gorgonzola dolce, which was very good.

    Super-rich, but worth it! Delicious, easy to make and a wonderful pairing with the ginger-mint crusted lamb chops from this site.

    For a cocktail party, I poured the polenta mixture into miniture muffin pans. When slightly cooled, I made a very small indentation with my index finger and filled it with a dab of gorgonzola. I covered some with a half of a cherry tomato (cut side up), the others with the chopped walnuts. Broiled them to melt the cheese and garnished the tomato ones with a sprig of basil. They were a big hit, and very easy to make ahead of time, except for the broiling. Some people have mentioned that they don't like the strong flavor of gorgonzola - perhaps they were sold an over-ripe piece, or they might try using a sweeter and milder version called gorgonzola dolce. There's a big difference.

    This was heavenly. Make sure to season the polenta liberally with salt and pepper. I like mine a little on the thin side, so I added a bit more milk which made for an extra creamy texture that never turned rubbery.

    This was served at our gourmet dinner club, we all loved it and I have made it several times since. A hit wherever it is served.

    Very very yummy, and easy too. Made a big fancy meal, and heard back that as wonderful was everything was, this was the best of it. You do need to like gorgonzola though.

    I made this as a first-course to take to a friend's house who was cooking dinner. assembled it and just did the final broil in their oven, and it traveled well. it really is the best polenta, very creamy. my only complaint is that with the cream and the gorgonzola it was very rich. we found ourselves rather full after only the first course--perhaps it may be better for a side dish. would have rated a 3.5 if possible.

    My husband and I both disliked this recipe. It was too starchy, and the cheese wasn't very good either. I ended up throwing 90% of it away. since it was so bad.

    My husband and went to Union Square cafe, where this recipe originated, right after he proposed to me, so I had to try it. I've made it for dinner parties 2 times and both times, my guests raved about it. My only problem with it is it sticks to the heavy pan I boil the polenta in and is hard to clean up. But it's worth it!

    Baked Polenta Fries Recipe

    This is a great make-ahead recipe. You can make a selection of dipping sauces in the days before you want to serve it and cook up the polenta in advance as well. The day of a party or dinner cut and bake-off the fries just before serving.

    2 cups organic milk
    2 cups water
    1 1/2 cups polenta (see above)
    1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1/4 cup melted clarified butter or olive oil

    Bring the milk and water just to a boil in a large saucepan. Slowly stream in the polenta while stirring constantly. Stir in the salt and turn down the heat a bit if needed (you don't want the polenta to scorch). Continue stirring until the polenta thickens up (see picture), this can take anywhere from just a few minutes to much longer depending on your polenta. Stir in the cheese.

    Remove from heat and spread out 1/2-inch thick onto a baking sheet using a spatula (although I feel like I get a better shape by letting it cool a minute or two and then using my hands). Chill in a refrigerator for at least an hour, or overnight. Cut into wide-cut "fry" shapes using a straight-edge for guidance and uniformity (or opt for a more rustic cut). Rub each fry with a bit of clarified butter or olive oil and sprinkle with some salt.

    Bake in a 450 degree oven, middle rack, for 20 minutes or until golden and crispy. Flip the fries once after ten minutes.


    Made from corn, polenta is an Italian storecupboard staple. Discover how to store, prepare, cook and serve it, and our favourite polenta recipes.

    What is polenta?

    An Italian storecupboard staple, polenta has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy.

    It’s made by grinding corn into flour, or meal. It has a rich yellow, yolk-like colour, and has a slightly sweet flavour.

    Polenta can be cooked to be creamy and thick, or allowed to set and then sliced. Serve it instead of pasta, rice or potatoes. Use in place of breadcrumbs to coat chicken or fish when frying.

    Uncooked polenta makes a delicious addition or gluten-free alternative to flour in cakes, biscuits and pastries. Cakes made with polenta tend to be moist and dense with a pleasantly grainy texture.

    How to prepare polenta

    Uncooked polenta can be used in place of flour in specific baking recipes. For savoury dishes, pour the polenta into boiling water, following the quantities on the packet, and stir. The length of time it takes to cook depends on the type you’ve bought. It can then be eaten in this way or poured into a baking tray, allowed to set, sliced, grilled or baked.

    To add extra flavour, you can boil polenta in a mix of half water, stock or milk. Add a knob of butter, a handful of grated parmesan or sprinkling of gorgonzola.

    How to cook polenta

    Find top recipes and tips in our how to cook with polenta guide.

    See our polenta recipes for the ultimate selection.

    How to store polenta

    Store in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place.

    Where to buy polenta

    It’s available all year round, from supermarkets or delis. Buy it in grain form on the pasta aisle – it’s sometimes called corn meal (not cornflour), which is the American term, and used in cornbreads and stuffings.

    Polenta is available in various grades, ranging from coarse to fine. Different types have different cooking times, some up to 45 mins, but you can also buy part-cooked instant polenta, which is ready in 5-8 mins.

    Ready-made polenta is available in solid tubes or blocks – this just needs to be sliced and heated.

    Super fast fish recipe

    This fish recipe can be cooked in under the grill/broiler OR in the oven, but my preferred method is using the boiler for 2 reasons:

    it’s faster – a 2 cm / 4/5″ thicken white fish fillet will cook in 5 – 6 minute flat., about half the time it takes in the oven and

    the closer contact to the heat source makes the crumb wonderfully golden without overcooking the fish. If you use the oven, you can either flick the broiler on at the end, or if you want a really golden crumb, use my method to toast the breadcrumbs in the oven before crumbing the fish, like I do for my baked Homemade Filet-O-Fish.

    38 New Ways to Prepare Fish and Seafood

    In the mood for seafood? Try these simple and delicious dinner recipes.

    From grilled salmon to indulgent chowders, discover a new way to enjoy fish and seafood.

    Why have one type of seafood when you can have them all?! (We're talkin' mussels, shrimp, and white fish.)

    A spicy cornmeal breading gives fried cod, shrimp, and clams a crispy kick.

    Stuffed with Gruyère cheese and crab meat, these pop 'ems will be gone in a flash.

    Grab a bag of Utz and get crushing&mdashthese potato chip encrusted fillets seriously bring the crunch.

    Get more tang for the buck with this quick and easy recipe for in-season grapefruit.

    This combination of shrimp and buttered noodles will quickly earn a spot in your weekly dinner rotation.

    You can't beet this dish. (Sorry, we couldn't resist.)

    Get dinner on the table quick (and keep dirty dishes to a minimum) with these simple fish packets.

    Crisp, vibrant snap peas and their edible pods are in the spotlight during the spring. Bring a little snap to the table with this quick and easy dinner.

    Fire up the grill! Prepare shrimp in foil packets for easy clean-up.

    Pasta night just got a whole lot more delicious.

    This hearty salad has all of the fixings of a shrimp taco&mdashwithout the calories.

    Cajun seasoning gives your usual shrimp dinner a spicy kick.

    Nothing says "home cooking" quite like a hearty gumbo. Grimes adds Coca-Cola and black coffee to her version.

    The time-honored tuna casserole comes to the table with a brand-new look. Our makeover secret? Separating the pasta from the fish.

    If possible, use freshly caught fish from a local purveyor for this dish.

    Spiced with crushed red pepper and cayenne, tomato sauce becomes a zesty accompaniment for sauteed shrimp.

    This elegant casserole was inspired by the tuna-noodle childhood favorite. It can be baked in individual casseroles or in one large dish and served buffet style.

    This sandwich bursts with fresh flavors, from tart Granny Smith apple to crisp, spicy fennel.

    Sweet and salty flavors combine to glaze this melt-in-your-mouth salmon fillet.

    NOW: For mini seafood rolls, thaw, then chop frozen cooked shrimp. Use enough mayonnaise to coat shrimp, then salt and pepper to taste. Season with fresh lemon juice. Stuff rolls, garnish with parsley.

    LATER: Divide any leftover shrimp into meal-size portions while still frozen and store in freezer. To make weeknight meal prep easy, defrost and sauté shrimp for pasta dishes, or add to stir-fried vegetables.

    Cornmeal-Coated Catfish Fingers take a piquant touch from the addition of cayenne pepper.

    These are simply the best fish cakes. It might take a little extra effort to make a thick béchamel as well as mashed potato, but once you've made them, I know you'll agree it is worth the effort

    My little brother is a fishing ninja and a pretty good cook too, so this is my version of how he does his battered fish. I’ve added my oven-baked ‘fast chips’ – which are really thin wedges, but if I call them that, my youngest won’t eat them! Photograph by Jani Shepherd and styling by Fiona Hugues – Gatherum Collectif.


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