Skip the line for this fish sandwich
My family, like plenty of others around the region, beat the heat on a weekend camping trip at the coast.
While we got our share of fog, wind and cooling temperatures, our trip was sorely lacking in the seafood department. Everyone else within two hours’ drive of Brookings seemed to be in its harbor, thronging the restaurants serving fish ’n’ chips and chowder.
We knew we’d be in for a wait, but after spending almost 15 minutes in line, we got close enough to the restaurant counter to hear that customers were getting their food an hour after ordering! Jumping ship at that news, we drove down the road to a second eatery with a line out the door almost as long as the first’s.
So a seafood fix is still in store. If I’d thought far enough ahead, we would have purchased and brought home some of the superb rockfish I enjoyed several days earlier in Port Orford. Good-quality, frozen cod suffices, however, while halibut really elevates this fish sandwich with slaw. If you’re on a budget, farmed tilapia is passable.
Writers for the Daily Meal suggest barbecue sauce with their recipe, but cocktail sauce is more authentic on the Oregon Coast. Similarly, the Daily Meal sanctions the substitution of brioche or challah for the burger buns. In Oregon, I’d venture that Texas toast — the type served as garlic bread with chowder and fish ’n’ chips platters — goes over better.
Feel free to add sliced, ripe tomato. And if you’re one of those to put pork fat in your clam chowder, you’d probably fancy crisp bacon, here as well.
Spicy Fish and Slaw Sandwiches
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon each: thyme, cayenne, freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 cup mayonnaise, plus more for buns
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 1/2 to 3 cups finely shredded cabbage (half of a 14-ounce bag)
1 large carrot, trimmed, peeled and finely shaved or shredded
2 scallions, trimmed, thinly sliced
4 rockfish, halibut, cod or tilapia fillets, each at least 1 inch thick (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
4 brioche or whole grain burger buns, split
Favorite cocktail sauce or spicy barbecue sauce, for serving
Olive oil, as needed
In a small dish, mix the sweet paprika, salt, garlic powder, thyme, cayenne, freshly ground black pepper and allspice. Seafood rub can be made ahead and stored in a covered container up to several weeks.
In a medium-size bowl, mix together 1 teaspoon seafood rub with the 1/3 cup mayonnaise and the lime juice. Stir in the finely shredded cabbage, finely shaved carrot and sliced scallions. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, up to 2 days. Serve at room temperature.
Pat fish dry. Sprinkle generously on all sides with remaining seafood rub. Place on perforated top of a broiler pan or an ovenproof rack set over a foil-lined baking sheet. If desired, let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes or refrigerate, loosely covered, for several hours.
When ready to serve, remove coleslaw from refrigerator. Toast the 4 split burger buns. Spread bun bottoms with a thin coating of cocktail or barbecue sauce. If desired, spread bun tops or other 4 slices of bread with a thin coating of mayonnaise. Place on serving plates.
Preheat broiler to high. Drizzle a little olive oil over each fish fillet. Broil, 6 inches from heat source, without turning, until fish almost flakes easily in the thickest portion, for 5 to 7 minutes.
Carefully transfer 1 piece of fish to each of bottom buns. Top with a mound of coleslaw and position top bun in place. Serve right away.
Makes 4 servings.