Can you believe it's the third Thursday of June already? June is just flying by. Probably because the weather has been so awful that it doesn't even feel like summer yet. The other day it was 89 degrees, which was awesome, but in a matter of hours, the temperature dropped a full 30 degrees. It was 60 by the time we finished dinner and 55 when we got up the next morning. That's crazy! I'm having a really hard time with the fact that July 4th is only two weeks from today.
But the calendar doesn't lie, and that means it's time for this month's Improv Challenge. The premise of the Improv Challenge is easy: each month there are two assigned ingredients. The participants must make a recipe using both ingredients and blog about it.
This month's assigned ingredients were fish and chips. I've never actually had the dish "fish and chips", as I'm not a fan of fried fish. I'm actually not a fan of white fish much at all. So at first I wasn't sure what I was going to do. Then I was flipping through last month's issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray and she always has a "Burger of the Month" near the front of the magazine. Last month's "burger" was actually a fish fillet coated in Panko breadcrumbs and fried. She called them "Fishwiches". I was intrigued by this. I thought about this challenge and wondered if I could use potato chips to create the crunchy coating instead of Panko. And since I was using potato chips, I thought it would be fun to make a french onion flavored tartar sauce.
I don't consider my recipe adapted from hers, but inspired by hers. I changed pretty much everything about it. I used different fish, spices, coating, condiment, and I baked mine instead of frying. Here's what I created.
Potato Chip-Crusted Fishwiches with French Onion Tartar Sauce
½ cup mayo
6 tbsp French onion chip dip
1 tbsp dill pickle relish
1 tsp lemon juice
½ cup flour
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp water
2 cups potato chip crumbs
4 (4-6 oz.) fillets of cod or other white fish
4 rolls, split
In a small bowl, combine the mayo, French onion dip, relish, and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until sandwiches are ready to serve. Can be made a day ahead of time.
Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with foil and top with a baking rack. Coat rack with nonstick spray.
Set up your breading station. Combine the flour and paprika in a shallow dish. Combine the beaten egg and water in another shallow dish. Place the potato chip crumbs in a third dish.
Pat fish fillets dry and season lightly with salt. Coat each one in the flour mixture, shake off excess, and dip in beaten egg. Then coat with potato chip crumbs. Place fillets on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until coating begins to brown and fillets flake easily. Place fillets on rolls and top with French onion tartar sauce. Add additional toppings (lettuce, tomato, etc) if desired.
Makes 4 servings.
The results were amazing! Like I said above, I don't really like white fish, so I wasn't really expecting to like these sandwiches that much. But I loved them! The coating provides a great seal that keeps the fish incredibly moist and perfectly flaky. The salty flavor of the chips pairs perfectly with the mild flavor of the fish. You don't have to worry about whether or not the coating gets crunchy because it's crunchy from the very beginning! I chose to bake mine instead of pan fry because I didn't think the chip coating would hold up to pan frying, with the turning and the spatula and whatnot. And since the chips already contained a fair amount of oil, I thought the coating would burn before the fish was cooked through. Baking worked out perfectly.
I used the Classic Lays potato chips because they are thin and crisp. I think it would be fun to try this with different flavors, but I wouldn't get to crazy with different textured chips. For instance, the Wavy Lays are much thicker, so I don't think they'd work as well. But I think the sour cream and onion flavor of the classic ones would be really good. Maybe even barbecue.
I am really excited about this recipe because I know fish is good for you, and I have tried in the past to make it, but had yet to find a way that I liked it. This has opened up a whole new world for me. If you are trying to limit your carbs, you could easily just eat these as fillets, leaving out the bun altogether. I'm definitely going to experiment with some other coating options.
Check out all of the other "fish and chips" recipes below and come back next month to see what I make with peaches and herbs. Yum!