The season two trailer for Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous just dropped!
*Does a raptor dance to “Walk the Dinosaur”*
That said, it’s timing couldn’t be any better because this week of all weeks, I’d planned on dropping the following recipe. All Jurassic Park nerds recognize Chef Alejandro’s Chilean Sea Bass from the first film. We also know that Jurassic World serves it. But how could you possibly provide that experience to hundreds of picky teenagers at Camp Cretaceous without sacrificing quality or once again overfishing the Patagonian Toothfish?
Read on and learn, my friend.
Click here to skip to the recipe for Fish Sticks Alejandro.
Welcome, to Camp Cretaceous!
For those unfamiliar with Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, this Netflix animated series follows six tween-agers who are invited to sample the park’s newest creation: a summer camp. Their experience just so happens to coincide with the park’s disastrous release of the Indominus Rex.
Without giving too much away, the story is one about identity and survival. Each one of the characters struggles with expectations of who they are and who they should be. It’s a theme often present in programs aimed at this age group. However, dinosaur attacks in Camp Cretaceous are definitely a stronger motivating force than a verbal assault from the class Queen Bee.
Chilean Fish Sticks
As I said earlier, all of us Jurassic Nerds remember Chef Alejandro’s Chilean Sea Bass. We’re not exactly making that in this post. For one, the Patagonian Toothfish, known to the culinary community as Chilean Seabass, is wicked expensive, and rightfully so. Jurassic Park’s little mention almost overfished this guy into extinction after the film’s release.
So with that, I remembered that Disney Parks all have some sort of sustainable fish on their menus. It made sense to substitute a fish similar in flavor and locally sustainable to Isla Nublar off the coast of Costa Rica. Mahi-Mahi fit the bill perfectly.
Deconstructing the rest of the original image shows green beans, cherry tomatoes, tons of fried onions, and some kind of red cream sauce. Kids who are a bit iffy on fish don’t seem to mind it breaded and baked. That’s why I put those fried onions to good use for a crunchy cover for this maritime morsel.
We learn in the first episode that the camp houses hundreds of kids when fully operational. Since mealtimes are not usually staggered in a camp setting, I made this dish to be baked all on one pan. It also gives you the chance to whip up some Extinction Event Margaritas while waiting for the sauce to simmer.
Speaking of sauce, I figured that Chef Alejandro likely came to the park from the Costa Rican mainland. With that, I researched and found salsa lizano prevalent not only on every restaurant table but in a majority of cultural dishes. I ended up making some based on a recipe from the blog “Mommy’s Memorandum” then blended it with coconut milk to tone down its peppery, curry-like heat.
Of course, you can also find the stuff bottled at most Hispanic grocery stores. Making your own, though, does allow you to play with the flavor a little. I included pasilla peppers, red onion, apple cider vinegar, and lime juice in my batch.
Sing for your Supper!
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The printable recipe cards and playlist for Fish Sticks Alejandro will be available as a $2 donor reward on my Ko-Fi page until the next post goes up.
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Fish Sticks Alejandro
Equipment: Oven, large baking sheet, aluminum foil, cooking spray, food processor, mixing bowl, pastry brush, zester, small saucepan with lid, and wire whisk.
- 4-6 skinless mahi-mahi fillets
- 2 cups french fried onions
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 lb green beans, trimmed and halved
- 1 Tb olive oil
- 3/8 cup mayonnaise
- 1 and 1/2 Tb salsa lizano*
- 1 Tb tomato paste
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 Tb sugar
- 1-2 limes
- kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.
- Toss the green beans and tomatoes in a bowl with the olive oil, a pinch of kosher salt, and a teaspoon of salsa lizano. Set aside.
- Zest the lime and stir it into the mayonnaise. Then cut the limes into quarter wedges and reserve.
- Pulse the fried onions into breadcrumbs in the food processor. Then blend with the cornmeal and a pinch or two of kosher salt in a separate dish.
- Scoop a half tablespoon of mayo on one side of each fillet brush to coat with 2-3 tablespoons of the breading mix. Turn over and repeat with the other side before arranging the fillets on one side of the baking sheet.
- Spread the vegetables in a single layer on the other side of the sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Start making the sauce.
- Heat a tablespoon of coconut milk in the saucepan over medium heat, Then stir the tomato paste, remaining salsa, and a wedge of lime juice into a slurry.
- When fragrant, whisk in the sugar and the rest of the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and cook while stirring for four minutes. Turn off the heat and cover with the lid to keep warm.
- Let the fish and veggies cool for five minutes. In the meantime, ladle some sauce onto each serving plate. Top with veggies.
- Slice the fillets along the grain and arrange the strips over the vegetables. Serve each dish with a lime wedge.
*Salsa lizano can be found online or in Hispanic grocery stores. You can also make it from scratch as I did. I used the recipe from the site “Mommy’s Memorandum” with the substitutions of pasilla peppers, red onion, apple cider vinegar, and lime juice.