Antoni Porowski is bringing a piece of his childhood to the dinner table! The beloved Queer Eye star recently partnered with Gorton’s Seafood and was delighted with the chance to elevate a dish he ate all the time as a kid: fish sticks.
“When Gorton’s approached me, I really got excited,” he told Us Weekly exclusively, noting that a childhood babysitter used to make him the frozen food when his parents traveled. “They were a lot smaller back then,” he said of the fish sticks of his youth. “They were literally the size of my pinkie even though I don’t have a big pinkie. I would just dip them in offensive amounts of ketchup.”
Read Antoni’s recipe for Baja Fish Tacos with Gorton’s Beer Battered Fish Fillets.
Now that he’s an adult, Porowski, 35, has ditched the ketchup for something a bit fancier. Case in point: His Italian-inspired take on the childhood classic calls for a flavorful topping that sounds difficult, but is actually very easy to throw together. “I love a puttanesca sauce because the name, at first, to people who are not familiar with it, sounds super intimidating,” he explained. However, the sauce “literally uses condiments that you can find in your pantry, or at least my pantry.”
So what exactly is in this tasty topper? “Things like capers, olives, a can of good tomato sauce, a bit of tomato paste,” Porowski noted. “That’s really all that you need and it’s a very salty, briny sauce.”
In addition to being packed with flavor, the Village Den owner also loves how well the puttanesca sauce complements the crunchy fish sticks. “I think it lends really well,” he said. “My only suggestion is make the sauce separate and then bake the fish sticks so that they stay nice and crunchy, and then serve them alongside.”
If you’re looking to pair your Queer Eye-approved meal with some wine, the Canada native has the perfect suggestion. “Because there’s some chili flakes in the puttanesca, with a bit of spice notes, I think with a Shiraz would be really nice,” he explained.
And even though Porowski knows home cooks are sometimes fearful of making fish, he hopes this recipe helps people realize the food is nothing to be wary of. “People are really intimidated by fish. Often when you buy it, people think you have to use it within a day or two at most,” he said. “I wanted to make recipes that weren’t super intimidating.”
This article was originally published in Us Magazine.
Written by Samantha Leffler
With reporting by Travis Cronin