a little fishy

food detective

Categories: Fish and Seafood, Dinner for Two, Supper, Lunch, Posted on May 22, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten

Over the last few months there have been all of these nostalgic articles about people’s love affair with McDonald’s filet o’ fish sandwich. I don’t know when, if ever, I have gone to McDonald’s and had a filet o’ fish sandwich. Perhaps when I was a little kid. If so, it obviously didn’t make much of an impression. 

But all of these food writers waxing on longingly piqued my interest. The tipping point came when I saw a picture of what one of these homemade versions looked like. I was like… I need to eat one of these… right now.

Well, I made it and ate it. Gotta say it was beyond awesome. Here is my rendition of Su Li’s fried fish sandwich.

Start with homemade tartar sauce (you’ll be glad you did). In a small bowl, whisk together a quarter cup mayonnaise, three tablespoons sweet pickle relish, half of a finely chopped shallot and a quarter teaspoon soy sauce. Season with salt to taste and set aside. The tartar sauce can be made ahead of time, cover and refrigerate. Makes about one third cup.

For this sandwich you want to use a mild white fish. Flounder is a good economical choice but can be hard to find, I’ve had great success with sole fillets. Purchase two fillets (about three quarters of a pound total) and cut them in half crosswise. Place on a layer of paper towel, cover with another layer of paper towel and pat dry, discard the top paper towel. Season the fish on both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. 

Place the flour, egg and panko in three separate shallow bowls. Beat the egg with a fork. 

One at a time, dredge each filet first in the flour, dusting off excess.

Then in the egg wash, allowing the excess egg to drip off.

Then coat both sides with panko. 

Place on a rimmed pan or if dredging before a wire rack. The fish can be coated up to an hour ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate.

A key player in this sandwich is the soft steamed white bun. Whole Foods carries these wonderful brioche buns. Look in the bakery section of your market.

They are light, airy with just a hint of sweetness. When ready to cook the fish, preheat your oven to 350-degrees. Wrap two white brioche buns loosely in foil. Steam the buns in the oven for about 5-10 minutes while the fish is frying.

Over medium-heat, heat the vegetable oil in a straight-sided skillet large enough to hold the fish fillets without any overlapping. When the oil is hot fry the breaded filets until golden brown and cooked through, about one and half to two minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack and season with kosher salt.

To assemble spread tartar sauce on both sides of each warmed bun. Layer the top bun with pickle chips. Place one piece of fried fish on the bottom buns.

Layer each fillet with two thin slices of cheese. Don’t get all snooty here. Just like the soft white bun, these sandwiches demand some thin deli sliced American cheese.

Top with the remaining pieces of fried fish (note the heat from the fish will melt the cheese).

Cover with the sauced and pickled top bun. Serve piping hot.

With a side of homemade coleslaw and sweet potato fries, you just might be writing about these too.

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