Thursday, July 3, 2008
I am not really a sandwich person. It's true that I enjoy the occasional tuna fish sandwich (no celery, extra mayo) and pretty much anything containing the word bacon. But in general, I find that I rarely consult the sandwich section of any menu. It's even more rare that I decide to make a sandwich at home, but the other day while perusing an advance copy of a soon to be published cookbook, I was inspired by a shot of fried catfish. It reminded me of the delicious summer sandwiches I used to enjoy as a kid out by the beach. Crab cake sandwiches on soft potato rolls, yummy overstuffed muffalettas and fried oyster po' boys drizzled with fresh lemon juice all came flooding to my mind. Unfortunately, the few photos in the book were black and white, but the mere mention of fried fish near a photo of a crab cake sandwich got me thinking.
Wouldn't it be lovely to make the perfect summer sandwich? Hearty and filling, yet light enough to enjoy with crispy chips, a cold iced tea and a refreshing slice of watermelon? Yes, yes it would. My dream sandwich came together rather quickly once I started planning it. I'd been wondering what to do with some super thin fillets of grey sole (flounder) that were sitting in the fridge and realized they'd be perfect piled high for a sandwich. I decided to mix a few tablespoons of all purpose flour with some cornmeal and cayenne for a coating with extra bite. After frying the fish I added some crispy applewood smoked bacon, buttery avocado slices, crunchy iceberg lettuce and a good smear of mayonnaise. I piled everything atop a nice slice of rustic Italian bread cut straight from the loaf, topped it with another piece and called it a day. The sandwich was so delicious that I ate a whole half before I could take a picture (oops!).
If you happen not to like one of the ingredients, they're easily replaced. Don't like fish? Use chicken cutlets. Hate avocado? Try sweet red peppers. You can add tomato, use an aiolli or even stick it into a sub roll instead. I served this up with some Mediterranean Terra chips on the side because the colors just scream summer for me, but tortilla chips and guac or even some fruit on the side would be perfect. Here's how to start:
Ultimate Summer Fish Sandwich
3 thinly sliced flounder fillets
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornmeal
pinch of cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp vegetable oil (for frying)
4 slices crispy applewood smoked bacon
1 avocado, sliced
2 large slices rustic style bread
3 leaves of iceberg lettuce
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1. Combine flour and cornmeal on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Season fish with salt, pepper and cayenne. Dredge in flour/cormeal mixture and fry in vegetable oil until cooked on both sides (I fried mine in the bacon drippings instead, but you don't have to).
2. Stack bottom piece of bread with avocado slices, then fish, bacon, lettuce, and top with mayonnaise smeared piece of bread. Enjoy!