Open wide! This is a serious sandwich. Crispy fish, creamy avocado, juicy tomatoes and crunchy red onion. Slather on a chipotle sauce for a little heat, and oh my! 😋 Sounds complicated? NO WAY. This beauty will be in your hands in under thirty.
I’m holding back. I ADMIT IT. I’ve dipped my toes in the water, and it feels good! BUT we’ve got weeks and weeks of pumpkin spice and everything nice ahead of us! I can’t go fully FALL yet!
On my recipe schedule that I put together well in advance, for this week I HAD earmarked “winter squash”. And I’ve got a great dish in the works… but you know what? There’s plenty of time ahead for that.
What I’ve been craving all week is THIS fish sandwich.
Months ago when the pandemic began – and we were all at home and cooking more – I challenged my husband to come up with fun sandwiches from around the globe that we could make together from start to finish.
My mind went wild with intense cooking projects. Would we do an hours-long braise for a pulled pork sandwich? Bake up some homemade french bread and create the iconic Vietnamese sandwich, bánh mì? How about a Cuban, a Philly cheesesteak or a muffulletta? Perhaps an ice cream sandwich?!? So many great options!
Our first project took us south of the border. We set our sights on this, crispy-on-the-outside, moist-on-the-inside, fish sandwich. It was quick and easy to make… and turned out to a be smashing success! Our kids couldn’t stop talking about dinner for days and days. In fact, we’ve made it twice since. 😍
The only plan-ahead, semi-time consuming part was making our own Mexican-style sandwich bread, called telera – the bread of choice for tortas. While it was a delicious addition, I don’t expect most readers to make their own. Instead, here I call for what I believe to be the closest grocery store equivalent, a ciabatta-style roll. You may also be able to find authentic telera at a local Mexican bakery or tienda. (BUT, if you do have the notion, I have included a bonus recipe for the bread at the end of this post! By bread standards it’s a quick and very easy recipe, so I encourage you to give it a try if you’re on the fence.)
The only other slight deviation I’ll call out is when making this the first time we used guacamole. In this recipe I call for sliced or smashed avos, which work beautifully if you don’t feel like taking that extra step, however, my go-to guac is super traditional and super easy, if you have the notion – check out below in “Tips and Tricks” for a quick how-to.
Top it all off with sliced red onion for crunch and a smear of sumpin’ spicy and you’ll be sittin’ pretty!
Tips or Tricks with the Crispy Fish Sandwich?
- These come together quickly, so “mise-en-place” is important here. Simply, that means having all your ingredients out and ready to go so that when the fish is finished cooking you can assemble your sandwiches right away.
- I give an optional chipotle cream to add a little heat. If you don’t want the sandwiches to be spicy, skip it. When smashed up, you’ll probably find there is enough creaminess from the avocado. Or as an option in place of the chipotles for the sauce, you could simply use store-bought hot sauce mixed into the sour cream.
- Don’t skip the onions! Do these first and let them sit in the vinegar so they soften, mellow, and take on a great tangy flavor. If you just can’t stand onions, try doing the same with sliced red cabbage and a little salt.
- To make quick and classic guacamole, place a half finely chopped white onion, one chopped and seeded serrano chili, 1 chopped Roma tomato, and some salt in a bowl. Mash with the back of a spoon until the tomato breaks down a bit and it’s all combined. Mix in 3 smashed up avocados and taste for seasoning. Add salt if needed, stir again, and top with chopped cilantro.
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Crispy Fish Sandwich
- ½ red onion sliced
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 4 5- ounce pieces fish fillets such as grouper or halibut
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ cup flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup Light olive oil or canola oil for frying
- 4 semi-soft rolls such as ciabatta, sliced in half
- 1 large avocado smashed slightly. or use ½ cup guacamole
- 1 large tomato sliced
Optional: Chipotle Cream Sauce
- 2 chipotle chilis from a can seeded and chopped
- ¼ cup sour cream or thick yogurt
- Place the sliced red onions in a small bowl or jar. Pour the apple cider over and make sure they are submerged. Set aside until assembling the sandwiches.
- If using the chipotle sauce, mix chilis and sour cream together now and set aside. Also slice your tomato and smash the avocado or make the guacamole if using that instead.
- Season the fish with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Prepare three bowls for dredging the fish. In one, place the flour. In another, whisk the eggs, and in the third place the breadcrumbs mixed with the cumin and oregano.
- Place a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and keep warm while you dredge the fish. Start with the flour, knocking off the excess, then dip the fish in the eggs, letting the extra drip off, then finally dredge in the breadcrumbs.
- Fry the fish over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes per side. It should be golden brown. If it’s darkening too quickly before it’s cooked through, turn the heat down. The time it takes to cook will depend on the thickness of your fillet. Remove to a plate after they are cooked through.
- To assemble the sandwiches, If using telera bread, wipe out your skillet and add a pat of butter to it over medium heat. Place the bread cut side down and warm them in the butter for one or two minutes. If using ciabatta rolls, it's up to you if you prefer them toasted or not. Smear some avocado on the bottom of the roll. Top with the tomatoes, then the fish, then a few sliced red onions. If using the chipotle sauce, smear a tablespoon on each top bun. Sandwich and serve!
Tips & Tricks
- To make a quick and classic guacamole, place a half finely chopped white onion, one chopped and seeded serrano chili, 1 chopped Roma tomato, and some salt in a bowl. Mash with the back of a spoon until the tomato breaks down a bit and it’s all combined. Mix in 3 smashed up avocados and taste for seasoning. Add salt if needed, stir again, and top with chopped cilantro.
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Extra credit. This classic Mexican bread is perfect for these sandwiches.
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/3 cups warm water
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Dissolve the yeast in 1/3 cup of the warm water and set aside for a few minutes until bubbly.
- Combine the flour and salt in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Mix to distribute the salt in the flour, then add in the yeast mixture and remaining 1 cup water. Mix until the dough comes together, adding more water if needed to end up with a slightly sticky dough. Knead the dough for 5 minutes in the mixer. Alternatively, you can mix the dough by hand and knead it on a wooden board for 10 minutes. In the end, the dough should be tacky but not sticky. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 1 hour.
- Turn dough out onto a floured board and divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape into balls and flatten to about ½ inch. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart. Use a sharp knife to score two parallel lines in the top of the dough. Cover with a dish towel and let rise for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350.
- Bake the telera for 15 minutes until golden. Remove and let cool for a few minutes before using. These are best day of but will last for 1-2 days stored in a bag. Most sandwich recipes will call for slicing and toasting over medium heat on a skillet, cut side down, and with a smear of butter, roughly 1 minute.
Tips & Tricks
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