Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Children's "Spaghetti-O's" and Crispy Fried Fish Snack Sandwich

     Yummy Gourmet Kid Stuff!
     Every parent and every chef knows that children can be the hardest customers to please.  Children like to play chef when dining and they often combine different food items to make their own signature pièce de résistance.  Sometimes a child's innovative food combination turns out to be quite tasty.  Today's "Spaghetti-O's" and Crispy Fried Fish Snack Sandwich is a good example of crafty kid chef food!    
     I do not watch television at home and I never want to own one of those things!  I tend to only watch television when I am stuck in motel rooms while traveling.  During one motel stay, I watched a cooking show that featured a few great chefs that were cooking for the most demanding gourmet customers of all.  Children!  One chef created a hot dog bun snack sandwich with spaghetti and tomato sauce as a children's entrée.  That was a nice idea and most children have made such a sandwich on their own when lunch is served in a home kitchen.
     When I was a kid, my mother relied on canned food and frozen food items.  To be honest, this was because she was not exactly a talented cook and more often than not the home made food ended up being burnt to the point of being charred cinders.  A baked frozen fish sticks product and canned pasta with tomato sauce was a regular lunch for us kids back in those days.  The bread at the table was whatever was on hand and leftover hot dog buns were always plentiful.  After sitting down to see a lunch like this endless times, us kids overcame the boredom by combining the food items to create something new and crafty.  We acted like French chefs and mimicked the accent and all, while making canned "Spaghetti-O's" and Fish Stick Hot Dog Bun Sandwiches.  Those sandwiches that we made as kids actually tasted pretty good and the television show about great chefs designing food that appeals to kids triggered memories of those sandwiches.  This was all the inspiration needed for creating today's recipe!
     Today's hot dog bun snack sandwich is made with simmered pureed tomato sauce and Anelletti Pasta.  Anelletti has the same circular shape as the canned "Spaghetti-O's" product.  Crispy batter coated fish is easy to make and fresh is always better than a frozen product.  Topping the sandwich with a little bit of mozzarella cheese adds to the appeal.  In order to remain true to the kid's food theme, all food components of this sandwich must be lightly seasoned, so the flavors mimic canned or frozen food products.
     Yes, the "Spaghetti-O's" and Crispy Fried Fish Snack Sandwich was originally designed to be a children's food item.  This recipe was originally published over seven years ago, so there has been plenty of audience demographic data compiled since then.  When looking at the statistics, it became evident that the majority of viewers were not exactly seeking a recipe for kid's food.  Oddly enough, more than 50% of the views came from Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where recreational marijuana is legal.  In other words, today's Children's "Spaghetti-O's" and Crispy Fried Fish Snack Sandwich actually has become a legendary munch for stoners!  Ahhh ... ce est la vie!
     The "Spaghetti-O's" and Crispy Fried Fish Snack Sandwich does appeal to kids of all ages.  This is a snack sandwich that was invented by kids, for kids, but adults are welcome to give it a try too!  
     This recipe yields about 1 1/4 cups.  (Enough for 4 garnish portions.)
     The idea is to get the pasta to look like the canned Spaghetti-O's product that children are familiar with.  A small amount cream will give tomato puree that look.  
     Step 1:  Cook 1/3 cup of Anelletti Pasta in a sauce pot of boiling water over medium high heat till the pasta is tender.
     Step 2:  *The sauce can be made while the pasta cooks!
     Heat a sauce pot over medium low/low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth.
     Add 1 1/4 cups of tomato puree.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped ripe fresh Plum Tomato.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of cream.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 small pinch of ground oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 3:  Simmer and reduce till the sauce is a medium thin consistency.  (The yield will be about 3/4 cup.)
     Reduce the temperature to very low heat and keep the sauce warm till the pasta is ready.
     Step 4:  When the Anelletti Pasta is tender, drain the water off of the pasta.
     Add the Anelletti Pasta to the sauce in the sauce pot.
     Add 1 tablespoon of grated mozzarella cheese.
     Toss the ingredients together till the cheese blends with the sauce.
     Keep the "Spaghetti-O's" pasta warm on a stove top.

     Crispy Fish Fingers:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  (2 fried fish fingers)
     *Make sure that no children are present when frying, for safety's sake!  
     Using the fresh Bluegill, Sunnies or Bream that the children catch at the local fishing pond will make the little fishermen even happier!  
     Step 1:  Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360ºF.
     Step 2:  Cut a Tilapia filet into 2 fish finger shapes that weigh about 1 1/2 to 2 ounces apiece.
     Step 3:  Place 3/4 cup of non-alcoholic beer or ginger beer in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of granulated sugar.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of powdered ginger.  (Skip the ginger powder if ginger beer was used.)
     Add enough flour while whisking to make a medium thin pancake batter consistency that can coat a spoon.  (About 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup.)
     Step 4:  Dredge the 2 Tilapia Fish Fingers in flour.
     Dip the fish fingers in the batter.
     Place the batter coated fish fingers in the hot frying oil.
     Deep fry till the batter coating is crispy golden brown.
     Step 5:  Use a fryer net to remove the fried fish pieces from the oil and set them on a wire screen roasting rack to drain off any excess oil.
     Keep the Crispy Fish Fingers warm on a stove top.

     Children's "Spaghetti-O's" and Crispy Fried Fish Snack Sandwich:
     This recipe yields 1 hot dog bun snack sandwich.
     Step 1:  Place 1 Poppyseed Hot Dog Bun on a baking pan.
     Spread about 1/4 cup of the "Spaghetti-O's" on the hot dog bun.
     Place 2 Crispy Fish Fingers on the "Spaghetti-O's".
     Sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon of grated mozzarella cheese over the sandwich.
     Step 2:  Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Bake till the sandwich is hot and the cheese melts.
     Step 3:  Place the sandwich on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with a pickle of your choice or fruit and a Curly Leaf Parsley sprig.

     This actually is a great tasting snack sandwich!  It could be fun to cook the ingredients and place them on the table, then let the kids assemble the sandwiches on their own.  Let them play chef!  Do not be shocked if the gourmet minded child pours ketchup all over the sandwich!

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