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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Crispy Swai Sandwich with Chipotle Mayo

Mmm..crispy fish sandwiches on a Friday night.  I know, I know...frying is not the healthiest way to prepare fish, but sometimes you just get in the mood for some delicious fried fish.

Growing up, as far back as I can remember, we would have fish for dinner on Friday nights. There were several reasons for this, the first being Lent. During the 6 weeks or so before Lent, Catholics are not supposed to eat meat, and for us fish was the protein of choice.  The second reason was because my Mom hated fish, and my Dad loved it!

Since my Mom worked most Fridays, my Dad would take my sister and me out for a fish dinner.  Sometimes it was McDonald's (this was back when McD's was a once-in-a-while "treat" not a daily visit like it is for many people today), sometimes it was to Arthur Treacher's Fish-N-Chips (melt in your mouth, lightly beer-battered fish that was just heavenly!!) or even Red Lobster if we were really lucky ("so fancy", we thought!).  There were also the local church Fish Fry events every Friday night during Lent or the Anchor Inn, a favorite local restaurant where I first learned how to eat catfish without getting a forkful of bones!  Lots of fun nights and many great memories.

This recipe uses Swai Fillets, which is a type of catfish.  The fish was golden and crispy-crunchy on the outside while the inside was sweet, moist and delicious.  The spicy chipotle mayo on top added a nice touch of flavor to the fish and any leftover sauce is great on grilled chicken sandwiches, too.

I think my Dad would have loved this sandwich just as much as we did.  Happy Father's Day Dad, we miss you.

3/4 cup  Flour
1/2 cup  Yellow Cornmeal
1/2 cup  White Cornmeal
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp  Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 cup  Flour
2  Large Eggs, beaten
2/3 cup  Milk
4  Large Swai or Catfish Fillets, cut in half (about 1-3/4 lbs)
1 cup  Mayonnaise
2  Canned Chipotle Chilies in Adobo
2 tsp  Adobo Sauce
2 TB  Honey
2 TB  Lemon Juice
1 cup  Oil for Frying
8  Kaiser Rolls or Buns
Boston Lettuce Leaves
Tomatoes, thinly sliced

Make Ahead:  In a small food processor, combine the mayo, chipotles, honey and lemon juice and process until smooth.  Place sauce in a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed.

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and set aside.

You will need 3 bowls for this assembly process.  Pour 3/4 cup flour into the first bowl.  In the second bowl combine the eggs with the milk and beat until blended.  In the third bowl, combine the yellow and white cornmeal, salt, pepper, Old Bay and 1/4 cup flour.

Dredge the fillets in the flour, then the egg mixture, followed by the cornmeal mixture, then place on the baking sheet.  Make sure the fillets are well coating the the cornmeal as this will ensure a crispy-crunchy texture.  Let the fillets rest about 15-20 minutes, or you can cover the baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour, if needed.

Pour oil into a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Place 4 fillets into the pan and fry over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes or until crispy and golden.  Carefully turn fillets, reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes longer.  When fillets are golden, remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined platter to drain.  Keep fillets warm while cooking the remaining 4 fillets.

Place the fillets atop the kaiser rolls and spread with a generous dollop of the Chipotle Sauce, a few leaves of lettuce and a juicy slice of tomato.

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