Butter-Almond-Crusted Fishwiches

17 Jun

2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons pickle relish
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespooon vegetable oil
1/2 head small cabbageor 1/2 pound shredded slaw mix
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
Flour, for coating
2 eggs, beaten
4 fillets tilapia
3 tablespoons butter
Juice of 1 lemon
8 slices good-quality white bread or split rolls of choice, toasted
Salt-and-vinegar or black-pepper potato chips
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the mustard, relish and honey. Whisk in 1/4 cup oil. Add the cabbage and season with salt and pepper; toss.

2. Using a food processor, grind the almonds. Stir in the breadcrumbs and thyme. Place in a shallow bowl. Place the flour and beaten eggs in 2 other shallow bowls. Halve the tilapia fillets crosswise, making 8 small pieces of fish. Pat the fish dry and season with a little salt. Dip the fish first in the flour, then in the beaten egg, then in the breadcrumb mixture.

3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 turn of the pan, over medium heat. Add the butter to melt. Add the coated fish and cook, turning once, until brown and crisp, 3 minutes per side. Douse the fish with the lemon juice. Stack 2 pieces of fish and a big pile of the slaw on the toast. Halve the sammies and serve with the potato chips.

-Rachel Ray

I’ve been searching high and low for a fish sandwich that can even begin to compare to the delightful tilapia sandwich at Hopleaf in Andersonville.   While this recipe could use a little tweaking here and there (how to get the breading just a little crispier!), it certainly holds its own.  So while I apologize for subjecting you to the ingratiatingly annoying term “fishwich”, I simply had to share.  Is it obvious I’m excited about this?

I have already made a few substitutions including the use of olive oil (and less of it) in the slaw sauce, serving the sandwich on a sliced baguette rather than white bread and I like to splurge on waffle fries, preferable with a tasty aioli sauce (though I’ve still never mastered aioli either – damn you, Hopleaf!).  Nonetheless, the ground almonds are absolutely genius.  They add a mild sweetness, similar to marinating the fish in milk but without the sloppy, soggy mess that can create.  The sweetness of the fish is balanced by the slightly acidic sauce to create the perfect fish sandwich at home.  It’d be a shame not to serve this with a tasty, lighter IPA such as Dales Pale Ale which I recently tried in Denver (a new personal favorite).

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