I’m still in denial about the summer being over. I worked a lot during the warm season, and though I can’t complain at all about having work and doing what I love to do, it sure did make the summer fly by!
I developed these fish sandwiches on the fly because to me, they taste like summer! They are also the classic addictive combination of crunchy, spicy, salty, and warm. Love. The best thing about this recipe is that it can be made in so many different ways – the slaw can be made with apples added to it, or sprinkled with peanuts, for example. The fish can be done in a wrap, or without a bun at all. If you make the slaw and mayonnaise in advance, this whole recipe takes about 20 minutes. That’s perfect for busy school nights, people!
The slaw has jicama and kohlrabi in it, which are underused, underappreciated vegetables that are delish! They both look sort of frightening but I assure you, they’re totally worth the time it takes to peel them (use a sharp knife). Don’t worry about your matchsticking abilities. I made this slaw twice and I can tell you that I suck at cutting matchstick pieces. It doesn’t matter, it will still be amazing – both times that I made the recipe, I stood at the counter eating literally half of it right out of the bowl. Yes, it’s that good. Make it ahead of time like I suggested above, and eat it not only with these sandwiches, but with any meal..or as a meal.
My photographs show the sandwich in a hotdog bun, not because I wanted it in a hotdog bun, but because my husband AKA The Critic brought hotdog buns home instead of hamburger buns. He’s cute so I forgave him. I know I’m a dietitian but I will only use Wonder Bread buns. Say what you will about them, but they are perfectly soft, not too doughy or too huge – don’t you hate having too much bread with your burger? – and they absorb just the right amount of juice from whatever you put on them before breaking apart. See? Dietitians do eat crappy bread sometimes too!
I used bluefish in this recipe. I had to explain to a bystander at the fish counter what exactly bluefish is because he hadn’t heard of it, and he asked me about it when he saw me buying it. Bluefish is wild-caught off the east coast of the US and Canada, and it’s a ‘voracious predator’ with razor-sharp teeth – not that you care, but I thought I would add that because I thought it was interesting. And maybe a bit scary.
Anyhow, bluefish is a ‘best’ and ‘good’ alternative according to the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, which means that its level of impact on the environment where fishing is concerned is on the low side.
I love bluefish because it’s inexpensive, it’s wild caught, and it’s delicious – in particular if it’s broiled or pan fried. it’s a meaty white fish with a mild flavor. It’s the perfect alternative to tilapia, which I call poo fish and will not eat anymore because of this and because I think it tastes horrible.
Bluefish has 907mg of omega 3 fats in a 3oz serving, which is a nice amount (for the same serving size, salmon has 1921mg, tilapia has less than 300mg).
Serves 4 – 6
1.5 cups panko
½ cup milk
1 cup flour
1t Old Bay seasoning
3T avocado or other neutral oil
¼ red onion
1 large jicama
2 large carrots
1 large kohlrabi
1 cup washed, chopped cilantro
1 long hot red pepper, diced
Black or white sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
2T sesame oil
1T avocado oil (or another neutral oil)
3T rice wine vinegar
2t fish sauce
1t soy sauce
Juice of ½ lime (or lemon)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
¼ t chipotle chili powder
1t lemon juice
1/2 garlic clove, crushed
4-6 soft white buns
First, make the slaw:
Peel the jicama and kohlrabi, and wash the carrots (I never peel carrots because there are antioxidants in the skins).
Matchstick the jicama, kohlrabi, and carrots and chop the onion into small pieces. Place the matchsticked vegetables and onion into a large bowl, and add the cilantro and pepper. Toss to mix it all up.
In a small bowl (or I like to use a mug), combine the dressing ingredients and whisk with a fork to ensure that they’re emulsified and the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the slaw. Salt to taste, sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired and set aside.
Make the mayonnaise:
Combine all the mayonnaise ingredients and stir well to blend. Add more chipotle if you want it hotter. Set aside.
Make the fish:
Cut the bluefish into 6 pieces.
Beat the egg and milk together in a small bowl. Place another bowl containing the flour next to the egg bowl, then a plate with the panko crumbs next to the flour bowl. Got that? It’s eggs. Flour. Panko.
Add the Old Bay to the panko and stir the panko around with a spoon just to mix the spice into it.
Working quickly, dip each piece of fish into the egg, then the flour, then the egg again, then dredge in the panko. I let the coated pieces of fish rest on the panko plate until all the pieces are finished being coated, then I heat the frying pan.
Heat 3T of avocado or neutral oil in a large frying pan. Fry the fish, turning once, for about 15 minutes or until browned on each side and cooked through.
Layer each bun with chipotle mayonnaise, fish, and slaw. Serve warm. You’re welcome.