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Buffalo fish bites: A healthful way to indulge in the popular sauce

Ellie Krieger

THE WASHINGTON POST – The Buffalo Bills won’t be playing in the Super Bowl this year, but their city will surely be represented at game day gatherings nationwide in the form of finger food slathered in Buffalo sauce. The buttery hot sauce famously coats crispy chicken wings, but it sure doesn’t stop there, and I am personally all-in for just about anything doused in it. I devoured the battered, fried cauliflower covered in the tingly sauce I was served at the last football party I attended.

My wingless entry into the Buffalo sauce arena this go-round are these irresistible fish ‘poppers’. They are bite-sized chunks of firm, white fish coated lightly in garlic and cayenne-seasoned flour, then seared in a little olive oil until they’re nicely browned outside and flaky inside.

They are then given the Buffalo treatment in a mixture of hot sauce tempered with a little melted butter. For me, that hot sauce must be Frank’s Original RedHot for the most authentic flavour, but any cayenne pepper sauce would technically work. However, since sauces’ heat levels vary, if you are using a different brand you might want to start with one tablespoon and build from there to taste.

True to the classic, the fish bites are served with creamy blue cheese dip and quenching celery sticks, but I like to make my dip a bit differently, with a base of Greek yoghurt and a touch of mayo for a lighter, creamy texture and fresh acidity.

Together, they hit the Buffalo spot more healthfully, and are a delicious way to switch things up while watching the game, or to serve as a main course any night you need a dash of fun at the table.

Buffalo fish bites with blue cheese dip. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

BUFFALO FISH BITES WITH BLUE CHEESE DIP
20 minutes | Four servings

Storage Notes: Leftover fish can be refrigerated in a lidded container for up to two days; the dip, for up to three days.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE DIP
– Quarter cup plain full-fat or low-fat Greek yoghurt
– Two tablespoons mayonnaise
– One-and-a-half teaspoons vinegar
– One-third cup crumbled blue cheese
– One-eighth teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE FISH
– One-and-a-quarter pounds firm, white skinless fish fillets cut into one-inch chunks
– One tablespoon all-purpose flour
– One-quarter teaspoon granulated garlic
– One-quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper
– Two tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
– Two tablespoons cayenne pepper hot sauce, plus more for serving
– Two teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
– Four large stalks celery, cut into sticks, for serving

DIRECTIONS
Make the dip: In a small bowl, stir together the yoghurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, blue cheese and pepper until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Make the fish: Place the fish into a medium bowl. Sprinkle it with the flour, garlic and cayenne pepper and toss to coat evenly.

In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the fish and cook, turning three to four times, until browned all over and just cooked through, five to six minutes total.

While the fish is cooking, in a large bowl, stir together the hot sauce and butter until combined. Add the cooked fish to the bowl with the sauce and toss gently to coat.

Serve the fish with the blue cheese dip and celery sticks, with extra hot sauce on the side,
if desired.

Nutrition information per serving (about five pieces fish, four celery sticks and two tablespoons dip), based on four | Calories: 284; Total Fat: 20g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 56mg; Sodium: 483mg; Carbohydrates: 2g; Dietary Fibre: 0g; Sugar: 0g; Protein: 23g

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