I don’t know about you, but in the McDermott household it’s not always easy to get our kids to eat heart-healthy fish. Butter noodles? They’ll want seconds. Chicken nuggets? Can’t get enough. But healthy, delicious salmon? It can be quite the struggle. Here’s where my brilliant and talented husband comes in – he had the idea to make “Salmon Surfboards” for the kids, which consists of salmon fishsticks, mashed potatoes, and green beans… with a twist (the mashed potatoes look like the ocean and the fish sticks look like surfboards!).

Here’s how Dean made a delicious and nutritious meal of fish, potatoes and green beans look cool enough for the kids to devour it!

The Gourmet Dad’s Californian Salmon Surfboards


  • 2 to 8 ounce skinless and pin boned salmon fillets (each fillet should yield 4 to 5 strips)
  • ¾ cup of self-rising or all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¾ cup of panko or regular breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (white pepper if you have it)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil

For the potato wave:

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup of milk or half and half
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (white if you have it)
  • Blue food coloring

For the rocks in the surf:

  • 2 bunches of green beans (Take a measuring cup or large coffee mug, and stand up the beans to fill the cup. Do this twice)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Dash of salt


  1. Put your quartered potatoes in a pot with salted water and get them on the stove to boil
  2. Cut salmon fillets into index finger width slices – as many as you can get
  3. Place three different bowls on your counter. Add your breadcrumbs to one, add your eggs and milk to another one, and in the last one, mix your flour and salt and pepper. Mix the eggs and milk well. Same goes for your flour, salt and pepper.
  4. Chop the green beans into ¼ inch pieces
  5. When potatoes are done (fork tender) drain and return to the hot pot, and place back on the burner it came from, but turn the heat off. This is to keep the potatoes warm, and to dry them out so they’ll soak up the milk and butter.
  6. Put the butter and milk in a small pot and bring just to a boil. Take it off the heat the second it starts to boil.
  7. Pass your cooked potatoes through a food mill or ricer. If you don’t have that equipment, use a potato masher or hand mixer. Ultimately potatoes don’t like to get handled much, so don’t over mix or over smash your potatoes. They’ll become thick and pasty.
  8. Once your potatoes are ready, slowly fold in your hot milk, cream and salt and pepper. Add blue food coloring drop by drop until you achieve a light blue ocean color. Fold until they’re a nice creamy consistency then taste for seasoning. Adjust if necessary. Put the mashed potatoes in a bowl that will fit into a pot that has a cup of water simmering in it. What we’re making is called a Bain Marie. It is exactly like a double boiler. It will keep your potatoes warm using moist heat instead of direct heat that can scorch or dry out your Potatoes. Cover your Bain Marie with foil.
  9. Heat your oil in a medium – large fry pan. Heat a tablespoon of butter in another fry pan and get your chopped green beans going.
  10. Take four salmon strips and put them in the flour mixture. Dust off any excess flour. Now put the flour-dusted strips into the egg and milk wash. Cover with egg wash, drain excess and put them in the breadcrumbs. Shake off excess breadcrumbs and put them in the hot oil. Since we are shallow frying we will have to turn the salmon sticks once. They need to cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
  11. Your green beans should be done by this point. Hit them with a pinch of salt, give them a toss and take them off the heat.
  12. Plate your blue potatoes along one side of the plate, and form a wave. To do this, shape the potatoes into a long triangle, then fold the tip of the triangle over a bit to look like a breaking wave.
  13. Place your salmon surfboards on the wave, and spread your green beans on the plate in front of the surfboards to make them look like rocks.

And there you have it! This is one dish that your kids will devour – trust me (and Liam & Stella) on this…

For another yummy and kid-approved fish option, try out my Baked Fish Sticks. I blogged about them last year, and they’ve become a household favorite. It’s an apple picking experience for the whole family… just take a look at the recipe to see what I mean.

For more delicious, healthy and totally kid-friendly recipes, check out Dean’s website: The Gourmet Dad.

Do you have a hard time getting your little ones to eat a wide variety of foods? What are your tricks and tips for getting your kids to eat outside the butter noodle box?


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Photo Credit: DeanMcDermott.com

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