With its crisp coating and flavorful sauce, Pretzel Fish with Honey Mustard Sauce offers a quick and easy meal the whole family will love!
Welcome to the latest edition of Fountain Avenue Kids! A flavorful, three-ingredient sauce pulls double duty as “glue” for the crispy, pretzel crumb coating in this family friendly meal, which was the first fish dish my kids truly enjoyed when they were little. Last year, I shared the recipe with brothers James and Oliver, who became fast fans and are back with a video to show us how it’s done!
My first memories of James and Oliver are shrouded by darkness. Let me explain.
For years, I ran several mornings a week with a group of women. While clocking our very early morning miles, we’d pass a Genevieve, a friend and neighbor who walked a similar route.
Genevieve walked solo for a time. After her first son James was born, she pushed him in a jog stroller in those pre-dawn hours. When Oliver entered the scene, she upgraded to a double stroller. Eventually, a family dog – and then a second dog – joined the fun.
Time flies, as we all know, and the elder baby, James, is now 14 and well over 6’ tall. Oliver is 12 and growing fast too.
They are impressive boys—smart, funny, athletic, musical, and thoughtful. They also know their way around the kitchen, as evidenced in their first video for Cracker Crust Pork Chops, a recipe their family enjoys regularly.
James and Oliver began cooking about two years ago, and they now prepare dinner for their parents about two nights each week.
This is impressive at any age, and especially at 14 and 12!
Always supportive, endlessly thoughtful—and a truly amazing teacher who knows LOTS of kids—Genevieve has connected me with many kids who love to cook, several who have joined the ranks of Fountain Avenue Kitchen Kids. Lucky for me, James and Oliver shared that interest, and I’ve had the true pleasure of trading recipes with them and spending some delightful hours cooking with them in my kitchen.
The following recipe for Pretzel Fish is one of the shared recipes that rose to the top of their list. It happens to be an old favorite in my family, the recipe that got my sons to enjoy fish when they were little.
With its crunchy, lightly salty crust and complementary honey mustard sauce, the easy recipe has a fun factor and is appealing to all ages.
Turns out, the honey mustard sauce is a new favorite on James’ and Oliver’s Cracker Crusted Pork Chops too. The sauce also complements chicken and a variety of cooked vegetables, and can be enjoyed as a dip for pretzels and raw veggies.
For more ways to enjoy (think broccoli salad and sweet potato fries), check out the Honey Mustard Sauce post. Because it’s so versatile and leftovers keep for several weeks in the fridge, you may even wish to scale up the recipe.
🐟 Fish cooking tip: If your fish has one end that’s substantially thinner than the rest of the fillet, fold the thin end under for more even cooking.
- 4 (5-6 ounces each) fish fillets (a flaky white fish like flounder, cod, or tilapia are all good choices)
- 4 ounces pretzels (gluten-free pretzels may be used)*
- 3 tablespoons (45g) Honey Mustard Sauce (recipe follows)
- Olive oil spray
- ½ cup (104g) mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons (30g) Dijon mustard
- 1½ tablespoons (30g) honey
- Optional: ⅛ teaspoon) cayenne pepper or 2 teaspoons sriracha (or more or less to taste)
For the honey mustard sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Make-ahead tip: This may be done a day or two in advance.
For the fish: In a sturdy bag (an empty bag from a cereal box is a great option to a zip-top bag, which also works!) crush the pretzels with a rolling pin or soup can. Alternatively, you may grind them in a food processor or mini chopper. You want fairly fine crumbs, although some texture is good. Make-ahead tip: This step may also be completed in advance.
When ready to eat, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Place the crumbs on a dinner or pie plate, and remove about 3 tablespoons of the honey mustard mixture to a separate small bowl, reserving the rest for use as a sauce when serving.
Brush the honey mustard sauce (the 3T in the small bowl) over both sides of the fish. (If you need a touch more to baste the fish, you can transfer it to the small bowl as needed. You just don’t want to introduce raw fish to the portion you’ll be using as the sauce.)
Press both sides of the fish firmly into the crumbs, and then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle any bare spots with some of the finely ground crumbs. Spray the tops of the fish lightly with olive oil (I have forgotten this step on occasion and the fish still turns out well), and then bake the fish for 8-12 minutes or until the fish is just barely opaque in the thickest part and flakes easily. Serve with the reserved honey mustard sauce.
Note: Depending on the thickness of the fillets, more or less time may be required. Check a few minutes early and extend cooking time, if necessary. It’s fine to cut into the fish to check for doneness, returning to the oven as needed.
*Feel free to substitute your favorite gluten-free pretzel. I’ve used Utz’s pretzel sticks as well as whole grain, sea salt pretzel sticks by Mary’s Gone Crackers. The latter option was rather hard to crush but both tastes quite good.
*The actual cup measurement of pretzels varies based on what shape pretzel is used. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can estimate the amount based on total size of package – i.e., roughly half of an 8-ounce bag. Any unused crumbs (untouched by the fish) can be stored in an airtight container for several months.
Fish cooking tip: If your fish has one end that’s substantially thinner than the rest of the fillet, fold the thin end under for more even cooking.