It started with a baseball game -- hot dogs, popcorn, soft serve, peanuts, fries. The whole works.
This time I had a taste of tater tots. The last time I had tater tots was in elementary school, when fried potatoes were still considered your daily vegetable.
They weren't really tasty. Or well-executed. They were definitely from a an institutional food services company. And yet they were so good. Perfect, really. A perfect snapshot of me 20+ years ago, buying a $1 red-and-white paper boat of tater tots with money I saved up just for the occasion.
And so this dish came from another long-ago memory. The Big Mac and its Special Sauce. Special sauce is probably a model recipe, a perfect representation of the salty-fatty-sweet trifecta. Even if I never eat a Big Mac again, I'm sure it's engineered to stay in my memory until I die.
My sauce breaks down the McDonald's recipe and translates the ingredients into something cleaner. The fish sticks are covered in flax seed meal, which give it a texture and nuttiness not unlike fried breading
Would you ever eat Flax Fish Sticks with "Special Sauce" at a baseball stadium or fast food restaurant? Never. But for a moment, you can be transported there, guilt trip not included.
Cut one salmon filet into dunkable pieces. Air dry on a plate, so the surface will toast rather than steam. Preheat toaster oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meanwhile, in a blender mix 1 cup cottage cheese, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 slug of vinegar, and a pinch of onion powder. Add salt to taste. Remove the sauce from the blender and add 1 heaping tablespoon of sweet relish. Set aside.
Sprinkle flax seed meal on the fish plate and coat pieces thoroughly. Cook in toaster oven. Your time will depend on the thickness of your fish. I made them thin and cooked them for about 7 minutes.