After Mardi Gras comes Ash Wednesday and Lent. During Lent, Michael and I choose not to eat meat on Fridays. That means I cook a lot of delicious seafood recipes leading up to Easter! One of my favorite Fish Friday meals is my spin on a fried fish sandwich. This sandwich ain't no fast food sandwich: I pan-fry tilapia in a seasoned coating, and I make a spicy and flavorful sauce using reduced-fat mayo. The end result? A little less guilt without sacrificing any flavor in the process!
Mardi Gras Crispy Fish Sandwiches
Step 1: Prepare the tartar sauce by combining the following ingredients in a bowl: 1/2 cup low-fat Hellman's mayo, 2 tbs. Zatarain's Creole mustard, 2 tbs. dill pickle relish, 1-2 sliced green onions, 2 tbs. minced shallot, 1 tsp. Tabasco, the juice of one lemon, and 1 tsp. Zatarain's Creole seasoning. Stir well to combine and set aside in the fridge while you fry the fish. Note: If Zatarain's brand isn't available where you live, use any grainy mustard and Cajun seasoning in their place.
Step 2: Add 1/2 cup of canola oil to a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. While the oil heats, prep the tilapia. Combine 1 large egg, 1/2 cup milk, and 1 tsp. Tabasco in a shallow dish large enough to hold the tilapia fillets. Then add 1 cup breading and 1 tbs. Cajun seasoning to a large zip-top bag. Some people down here like to use a 50/50 mixture of cornmeal and flour, but I prefer using cracker meal. I buy it at the grocery store in a box rather than crumbling my own saltines.
Step 3: Dip each tilapia fillet in the egg wash, then add to the zip-top bag and toss to coat with the seasoned breading. Add each fillet to the hot skillet and fry for about 4 minutes to brown. Carefully flip with a large spatula, and cook until the tilapia is golden and crispy on both sides.
When the fish is done, drain it well on a paper towel-lined platter. If you oil is hot enough, the fish won't absorb much of the oil, but I always drain on paper towels. Add salt and pepper to taste. While the fish is cooling off a bit, toast three French bread rolls.
Step 4: To assemble the sandwiches, slather some of the spicy tartar sauce on both sides of the rolls. Top with shredded lettuce, sliced roma tomato, a piece of the fish, and a slice of Monterey Jack cheese. Slice each sandwich in half...and get ready for spicy, crispy treat!
When I made these sandwiches the other night, I served them with potato chips to save time...but oven-baked fries are my preferred side. They're perfect dipped in some of the leftover spicy, tangy sauce! This sandwich would make a fantastic Mardi Gras celebration meal on Tuesday, a delicious Fish Friday meal during Lent...or simply just because!!