weekend pleasures: a posh fish (finger) sandwich

a fish (finger) sandwich
One of the worst culinary horrors I had ever experienced was a well-known fast food joint's fish sandwich. Words fail me. Vile. As a result, I had always had an aversion to the idea of breaded (or even battered) fish in a sandwich. So when a few years ago the fish finger sandwich appeared on trendy gastropub menus, a knowing nod to fashionable 30-somethings, I couldn't understand why many of my friends were so thrilled. What do you mean? You never had a fish finger sandwich at university? Um, well . . . no. Clearly my uni experience was somewhat lacking and I didn't feel like broadening my education any time soon.

What a narrow minded, bah-humbug attitude! And I am not that kind of girl. Besides it sounded quite fun. While I haven't eaten ready-made fish fingers since I was a kid, I do love a simple breaded fish supper, usually with a chopped salad and new potatoes. But this Saturday lunchtime I was admiring (if I do say) a rather nice loaf of pillowy white bread that I had just baked. We were hungry; I had salad, fish, and a fresh loaf. We were good to go.

Oh lord, I think I may have just found another guilty weekend pleasure . . .

Serves 2
Skill level: Easy

2 x white fish fillets, skinned (I used Pollock)
plain flour, seasoned
1 x medium egg, lightly beaten
5-6 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
½ tsp smoked paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil, for frying
baby plum tomatoes, sliced
wild rocket leaves
white bread
cheat's tartare sauce
5-6 tbsp good quality mayonnaise - I use Hellmann’s or Sainsbury's French-style mayonnaise
2 x spring onions, finely sliced (white only)
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
4 x cornichons (small gherkins), diced
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh parsley, roughly chopped

  1. Begin by assembling all the ingredients for the cheat's tartare sauce. Set aside in a cool place until ready to use.
  2. Put the seasoned flour on a large plate.
  3. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl.
  4. Season the breadcrumbs with a little of the salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Make sure it is mixed well.
  5. Coat each fish fillet in the flour. Holding the fish by one end, give each a quick shake to remove the excess flour.
  6. Lay the fish in the egg and turn until coated.
  7. Lay the fish in the breadcrumbs and turn to make sure that they are well coated.
  8. Repeat the flour, egg and breading process.
  9. Heat the oil (about 2 centimetres deep) in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. The fish is ready to fry when the heat is fizzles when you throw in a few breadcrumbs.
  10. The fish should be cooked after 3 minutes. Don't move the fish until the 3 minutes is up and the bottom of the fish crisps up. (No peeking!)
  11. Turn the fish and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes.
  12. Drain the fish on absorbent kitchen paper.
  13. Slice the fish into thick fingers and assemble the sandwich.
  14. On each slice of bread, spread a generous dollop of tartare sauce. Top with the tomato slices, rocket leaves and fish.


J@feasttotheworld said...

What a brilliant effort! I bet it's more delicious than captain bird's eyes and of course 'that fast food joint'. I love the sound of it :)

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Thank you, thank you. But if I'm honest, a good old fashioned Captain Birdseye might be quite nice too!

o cozinheiro este algarve said...

How lovely.Congratulations for crossing that threshold.I have to confess we had the Captain Birds eye version for supper last week, and I have to confess it was heaven between two slices.

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Algarve - I crossed the threshold and survived, although if it had involved baked beans I might not be alive to tell the tale! I suspect that in future I shall always have a packet of Capn B's fish fingers in my freezer . . . for emergencies of course. ;)

Janice said...

I like your style. I have never had a fish finger sandwich, but you have convinced me that I should have a go!

o cozinheiro este algarve said...

When you see what one man can do creatively with beans on toast i´m sure you will think again."For forks sake" what is more imaginative than prawns and beans on toast.Please try it.What is the saying -Italians do it better!!!

CatfordAndy said...

Fish finger sandwich is what it's all about when one is slightly compromised by overquenching one's thirst. Decent bread, ample number of fish fingers and mayo with seasoning. It does the trick for me. Re the Babur, I am walking distance and love it but it seems to have got a bit pricey. There is a little Italian right near there, Close to that rather unpreposessing pub (The Chandos). Le Querce is highly recommended (well, by me anyway). It's Sardinian and the menu is dull, the beauty is in the specials.