Growing up in a large family with 5 siblings, we rarely had fresh seafood at dinner time. One exception was our yearly outing to Parks Restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida while on the family Spring Break trip. After the 22 hour car ride through Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida all the while eating Oreos, ham and cheese sandwiches, and those little individual boxes of sweet cereal, my parents splurged on a "fancy" seafood dinner for our family of 8. I always ordered the basket of deep fried shrimp.
During my college days, my Lenten Friday night dinner was many times a McDonald's Filet-O-Fish with fries and a Coke. Not the most nutritious meal, but it fulfilled my Catholic eating restrictions during the Easter season and hardly dented on already limited money supply.
I created a somewhat healthier baked version of the Filet-O-Fish including a sweet pickle relish and mayonnaise based special sauce and melted American cheese. I originally was not going to include the American cheese in my recipe, but was pleasantly surprised that the memories of the Mickey D's Filet-O-Fish Fridays came flooding back when I took my first bite.
Bake up a few Fish-o-Filets tonight. You won't be disappointed.
1 1/2 pounds of fish fillets. Good choices are halibut, cod, pollock or blue snapper
Old Bay seasoning
1/2 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko
for special sauce -
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
squeeze of lemon juice
4 sandwich buns, sliced
4 slices of American cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.
Cut the fish into 4 pieces and generously sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning. Set aside. Place flour, egg , and panko in three separate shallow dishes. Dip each piece of fish first in the flour, then the egg, and lastly the panko. Place the coated fish on a tray to let the coating set for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the heated baking sheet. Place the panko-coated fish on the sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for 16 - 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and are lightly browned. Place the bun halves on another baking sheet and put a slice of American cheese on each of the bottom bun halves. During the last minute or 2 of baking time, place the buns in the oven to warm and just melt the cheese. Remove fish and buns from oven.
To make special sauce, combine mayonnaise, pickle relish and lemon juice in a small bowl; set aside.
To assemble sandwiches, place a piece of the fish on top of the bottom bun with the melted cheese. Slather the top of each bun half with the special sauce and place on top of the fish. Enjoy!