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Fast Food vs. Homemade Fish Sandwich

Fast Food vs. Homemade Fish Sandwich

March 26, 2012
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fish, coating, sandwiches

I always know spring is near when I start hearing radio and TV commercials advertising fish sandwiches. I love fish sandwiches and the commercials make them sound so good, especially when I’m driving and hungry. Each time I succumb to my temptations and buy a fast food fish sandwich, I am disappointed afterwards (and usually have a stomach ache from the grease and strange ingredients).

I know I can make a better sandwich at home; I just need to take the time to make it. (Disclaimer, this is a common theme for me. I bought a store bought apple pie last summer and in my disappointment, wondered why I didn’t make it myself.)

I decided to "practice what I preach" and make fish sandwiches for my family. I wanted them to see how much better they were when we made them at home, versus if we bought them from a fast food chain. I found a great recipe for Crispy Fish Sandwiches and my kids were excited to help me make them.
To start this recipe, cut the tilapia fillets into whatever size you would like. I usually cut my fish according to the shape of the buns or bread. For this recipe, I used a baguette, so I cut my fillets in half. Set the fillets aside.

fish, fillets, tilapia

Mix all the "coating" ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. I let my kids work on this part of the recipe. There are a lot of ingredients in the "coating" and the kids love to measure each ingredient and mix them together. Pour the coating into a pie plate or shallow bowl.

coating, spices, bowl

After you mix the dry ingredients, gather two more shallow bowls or pie plates. Put ¼ cup of flour in one...

flour, bowl, fish

…in another a gently beaten egg…

egg, bowl, fish

…and coating mixture in the last pie plate.

spices, coating, bowl

Put the bowls next to the fish so you can easily dip the fish into each one.

Dip the fish fillets into the flour bowl first; making sure both sides are coated. Then, dip the fillet in the egg mixture and then the coating mixture. My kids also loved to help with this stage; they thought it was "cool" when their hands were covered with the sticky coating.

kids, coating, fish

If your kids are "helping" with this stage, it is important that they wash their hands thoroughly after they are done. Kids forget they are working with raw fish and need a reminder to give their hands a good cleaning before they start something else.

kids, coating, hands, fish

When the fillets are all dipped in their various coatings, melt Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt in a large frying pan on medium heat.

When the Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt is melted, slowly add the coated fish fillets.

fish, butter, skillet

Cook the fillets, turning once, until they are golden brown and the fish flakes easily with a fork. They should take about 6 to 8 minutes to cook. Be careful so the pan doesn’t get too hot. If the Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt starts to burn, turn down the heat a bit.

fish, butter, skillet

When the fish is done, gather the sliced tomato, chopped lettuce, and whatever sauce you like.

tomato, cutting, board lettuce, cutting, board

My family likes tartar sauce, but I like salad dressing and a little lemon juice on my fish sandwich.

tartar sauce, bowl, fish

Place the fish fillet on the bottom half of the bread (I used sliced baguettes instead of hero rolls since baguettes are easier to find in my neighborhood). Then add the sliced tomato and the chopped lettuce. Spread the sauce on the other half of the bread and you have a delicious fish sandwich!

fish, sandwich, homemade

Once you’ve made the recipe for Crispy Fish Sandwiches, you can decide for yourself. Does it taste better than the fast food fish sandwiches? My guess is that you and your family will vote unanimously and never buy a fast food fish sandwich again!

Come back in a few days when Becky shares a classic pie recipe.

Bridget is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.

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Bridget, I think getting kids of any age involved in cooking is a great life skill. I am very interested in your volunteer work with at-risk children in learning to cook.

Posted April 06, 2012 by Brenda

I believe homemade anything is better for you. Hate fast food and do not consume it. In the long run, homemade fish sandwiches are better for you. you know what is in the fish, not minced/pressed parts.

Posted March 26, 2012 by Joy
Test Kitchen Comment
From: bridget
Hi Joy, I totally agree with you, I like to know what is in my food! When I buy fish, I also like to know where it's from and how healthy it is (many fish contain high levels of mercury). When I'm buying fish for my family, I check a "seafood watch" website - I also have an app for my phone so I can check it while I'm at the store. I checked out the Tilapia (Farm Raised in the US) I used for this recipe on the seafood watch site. I hope you try out the Crispy Fish Sandwich recipe and happy healthy homemade cooking!
Posted March 27, 2012

I can never get my fish to turn out good.

Posted March 26, 2012 by Lola
Test Kitchen Comment
From: bridget
Hi Lola, Fish can be tricky to cook! Here are a couple of things I do when I'm cooking fish: use the freshest fish you can find (I try and cook the fish the same day as I buy it), use a stainless steel or cast iron pan (instead of a non-stick pan), it will get a nice crispy outer coating, and lastly, keep an eye on the temperature of the pan, you don't want the butter or the fish too hot or it will burn. Good luck with the recipe and I hope it turns out great!
Posted March 27, 2012