Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mardi Gras Crispy Fish Sandwiches...

Mardi Gras is coming up in just a couple of days, so put on some zydeco music and get ready to celebrate!! Growing up in the Houston area, Louisiana was always just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away. As a result, Cajun and Creole cuisine is an important part of the fabric of our culinary landscape...and one of my personal favorites! New Orleans has always been one of my favorite cities to visit, even before Michael proposed to me under a beautiful wrought-iron gazebo at the Ritz-Carlton on Canal Street in 2001! Now it will always hold a special place in my heart...

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!!


  1. Now that's what I call a fish sandwich! It looks sooo good and the tartar sauce sounds so flavorful. I love that you used tilapia, it's one of my favorites. :) Love this recipe!

  2. Dang, that sammie looks good. :)

    Hey, Wendy - I have a question for you regarding Petitchef... can you email me and we can talk? Sorry about the unconventional way to communicate with you... couldn't find your email... gracias!


  3. This would be a great meal not only for the religious holidays but for any day of the week. Looks mouthwatering.

  4. Why wait until Tuesday! I'll have this today, please! Yummy!

  5. What a wonderful post to 'happen upon'! Up here in New England, we can make these sandwiches with cod fillets ... so delish!

  6. This is a wonderful fish sandwich, no bland papery tasting fish here. Looks great and tastes good! Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

  7. What a yummy sandwich! Your tartar sound sounds like the perfect spread, too~

  8. Happy Mardi Gras!!! This sandwich is nice and spicy...and not too greasy since I pan-fry! The spread tastes a lot like has a nice kick.

  9. Hi Wendy-Wow, I love your pan fried fish sandwich...yummy! Love the spicy sauce to go with it and the cheese slices on the top. A nice cold beer to go with it, and for me that's an awesome dinner!

    BTW-I receive the amazing package, took photo of it,and posted a recipe from the book, a well.
    Stop by to check it out, Thanks a million!

  10. No edit-sorry for the typos. I meant to say I received the package, and the recipe book, as well.
    Actually, I did not expected all the other goodies that came with it. So, so, nice. I'm very happy, especially trying out the amazing tomatoes.

  11. How sweet..I had no idea that you got engaged in New Orleans. What a great memory. Happy Mardi Gras to you too! These fish sandwiches look too delicious! Thank you for sharing your words and recipe tonight. I'm drooling. I hope you have a beautiful day tomorrow.

  12. I just got back from mardi gras in new orleans! i LOVE me some po boys! this looks amazing!

    Hope you had a great fat tuesday!


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