This is one of those meals that sounds really complex, but is super simple with just a little bit of prep. Make a homemade seasoning blend, spiced to your taste, cook some fish and round out the sandwich with a simple lemon slaw. This blackened fish sandwich is sure to become a quick favorite in your house.
I’m a big fish sandwich lover and always have been. One of my favorite sandwiches is totally Florida vacation food. A blackened grouper sandwich with a fresh slaw is something I dream of. It makes me think of the beach, the warm Florida sun, eating outdoors...you get the picture. So I set about to recreate it simply at home.
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What kind of fish works best in this sandwich?
While it would be nice to use grouper in every sandwich I make, that’s not feasible for a whole host of reasons from cost to availability. The blackened fish sandwich however does work best with a flaky white fish. You could use any flaky mild flavored white fish that you like.
I like to use tilapia most often because it's easy to find and easy to cook. But use whatever type of fish you like. Don’t have a flaky white fish in the house, use salmon. But because you want the blackening spice to really shine, keep the fish mild. The spice is really the star of the show and makes this sandwich shine.
What goes into the blackening seasoning?
Blackened fish isn’t about charring a piece of fish until burnt. Rather it's about coating the fish in the blackening seasoning and then cooking it until a light crust forms from the seasoning on the outside. It’s a super flavorful spice mix that is based on paprika and black pepper. It also includes garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt and optionally cayenne pepper. It can be made spicy or not so spicy.
I like to make a big batch of the blackening seasoning. I keep it in a mason jar with the rest of my spices and can use it on lots of things other than just this fish sandwich. I will give you the measurements in “parts” so that you can decided how much you want to make at a time.
You can use this seasoning on chicken, tofu, or veggies. I like to put a bit into the slaw to really help the flavors come together. It’s great to toss on cubed sweet potatoes before roasting and would work great on homemade potato chips too!
How do you make this blackened fish sandwich with lemon slaw?
First you’ll want to make the blackening seasoning mix. Put all the ingredients into a small glass jar or airtight plastic container and shake it all together.
Then make the lemon slaw by mixing all the ingredients together well and putting in an airtight container in the fridge.
You can do both of these first two steps ahead of time.
Then it’s time to think about how you would like to cook the fish. You have two choices:
- Baking it on a sheet pan in the oven
- Saute in a little butter in a pan
When I’m cooking fish for more than two people I like to bake it in the oven. It’s much easier to cook for a crowd at the same time and as long as you pay attention to the fish, it comes out perfect with little mess.
If I'm just making one or two pieces of fish that will fit in a pan together, I like to saute the fish in a pan on the stove. It’s quick and a teeny bit fancier than making it in the oven.
In either case, you’ll want to pat dry the fish and then liberally coat it in the blackening seasoning mixture. You want the fish totally coated so that a little bit of a crust can form during the cooking process.
Then, cook the fish.
If you are sauteing it, heat olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, place the fish in and let cook about 5 minutes. Flip and cook another 3-5 minutes until the fish is flaky and cooked through, being careful not to overcook.
If you are baking it in the oven, preheat the oven to 400, place the fish on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes. You want the fish to be just cooked, being careful not to over cook it.
Once the fish is cooked through, you’ll build your sandwich. I like to toast the bun or roll that I’m using, then place the fish on the bottom half and build the sandwich from there.
Tips and Tricks:
- This is a great slaw to use on all sorts of sandwiches. It would be great paired with fish and chips, a bbq veggie burger or even with a simple turkey sandwich for lunch.
- The sandwich can stand up to all sorts of toppings. In addition or substitution to the slaw I suggest, you could use a purple onion, a yummy remoulade or tartar sauce, pickles.
- You can make the lemony slaw up to 3 days ahead of time. The flavors will continue to meld and the cabbage will stay crunchy!
Looking for other simple fish recipes? Check these out!
Blackened Fish Sandwich with a Lemony Slaw
- for the blackened fish
- 2 large filets tilapia or other flaky whitefish about 1.5 lbs of fish total
- 1 tablespoon blackening seasoning
- 4 dinner rolls ciabatta rolls, pieces of baguette, pretzel rolls, etc.
- lemon slaw
- ½ cup mayo
- 3 cups of shredded cabbage or premade coleslaw mix
- juice of one lemon
- ½ tablespoon blackening seasoning
- Blackening Seasoning big batch
- 2 parts smoked paprika
- 1 part onion powder
- ½ part garlic powder
- ½ salt I like to use sea salt or kosher salt
- ¼ part black pepper
- ¼ part oregano
- ¼ part cayenne or to taste
- Prepare your blackening seasoning if making your own
- Make the lemon slaw
- in a small bowl, mix the shredded cabbage/coleslaw mix with the mayo, lemon juice and blackening seasoning
- set aside
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper if baking the fish or heat a saute pan over medium heat
- Coat the fish in the blackening seasoning using about ½ tablespoon per piece of fish, being sure to coat both sides.
- If baking, lay the fish out on a parchment lined baking sheet and put into the oven.
- If sauteeing, add olive oil to just coat the bottom of the pan, and when hot, lay the fish in the pan to cook.
- Optional step: while fish is cooking, toast and butter the buns
- Once fish is just cooked through (about 10 minutes if in the oven and about 4-5 minutes/side if on the stove), remove and start building sandwich
- Place half a piece of fish on the bun, top with the slaw and then add any other toppings you like.
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