Fish -o -Filet

Lent began this past Wednesday and so begins a yearly Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays. I usually don't crave a juicy burger draped in melted cheddar with sauteed onions except for on the Fridays of Lent. I could give into my craving, but my Catholic guilt would set in.

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.


serves 4

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
olive oil

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!


Maria said...

Your sandwich looks SO SO SO much better than McDonalds!! I could eat this every day:)

Anonymous said...

I haven't had a filet-o-fish in years! It used to be my mom's standard order at McD's (I think she thought it was "lighter"). I do enjoy them, though. Great idea to make a baked version.

Sara said...

This sounds really good, and a great way to recreate a fast food favorite at home!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this :)

We are Catholic, and I am always - always - looking for new meatless options, not only during Lent but during the rest of the year as well. Can't wait to try it!

Jennifer said...

Wow that looks great!!!

DineInDiva said...

I loved the Filet-o-Fish, but I haven't indulged in years. Thanks for the makeover.

Rindy R said...

This looks lovely! I have childhood memories of having a Filet - o - Fish with my dad at McDonalds! I still have to get my Filet-o-Fish Fix every now and then. This would be perfect for that!

Girl Fisher said...

My husband is going to pick up a filet-o-fish for me now because of this post!

Martha said...

Great idea! I used to like the filet-o-fish, though never with the cheese. I just can't do cheese with fish. I'll definitely try this one at home. Keep the great ideas coming!

kdawnmartin said...

I just found your blog from a question on a cooking sight. First let me say I am so excited about this blog. I have been looking for new recipes! The fish looks awsome! The reason I am commenting is I just bought some frozen herb crusted cod filets and they came with no cooking instructions. I was wondering if you had any ideas since my lovely husband would like to have them tonight for dinner. Any help would be appreciated. My email (if you do have any ideas) is kd_martin@comcast.net Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this recipe! I'll definitely be making this for my hubby!

MaryBeth said...

YUM...I love a good fish sammie, yours looks perfect but then everything you make always looks perfect.

Robin Sue said...

Ooh this is a good looking sandwich. I love fish sandwiches and ate them often growing up at the beach. You should see my kids eat fish sandwiches, they are so afraid of the bones that they take the smallest bites and it takes them forever to finish!

Annie said...

Wow, those look fabulous!

I always keep my lenten promise too, only I still think it is kind of silly.
Especially if you like fish more than meat, then it kind of defeats the purpose of fasting (or denial).
I always though that it should be an individuals decision as to what would be a true sacrifice. Oh well, I didn't make the rules so I guess I'll enjoy my lenten meals ;)

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. You make a filet-o-fish sandwich sound mighty tasty. Would be fun to try with crab meat, too (that is if I could find crab meat in this town).