Fish Sandwich – the best use for fish leftovers

fish-sandwich-yumAre you ever left with grilled fish that does not get eaten? It sure is rare, as fish are expensive and we usually buy them just enough. If the fish is of reasonable size, we take one per person. But what if you miscalculate and buy too many? Or buy a very big beast of a fish for a small child? What happened to me this week is a combination of both. I bought four fish (for 2 adults and a one-year-old), because I didn’t imagine mackerels are that meaty, and they were on sale, so it wasn’t that big an expenditure.In the end, as you can imagine, one and almost a half fish was totally too much. But I felt bad just feeding it to the dog or even worse, throwing it away. So I tried figuring out what would go great with it. A moment later, I decided for a fish sandwich. And what a great one I made!

fish-sandwich-fish
A cold grilled mackerel doesn’t look like much, but I tried to create something delightful from it. And I made it!

A fish sandwich can be anything from a mayonnaise loaded, heavy sandwich, to a posh and delightful snack, full of fresh ingredients.

This one is, obviously, none of the above. But it ended up a very tasty and rich fish sandwich, almost on the healthier side of the spectrum.

I had to play by the “alergy free rules”. No eggs, dairy and nuts. This didn’t prove that hard to achieve, the only prerequisite was homemade bread, but I already had it, so the problem came down to having an idea and executing it as well as possible.

Fish sandwich is best if tender fish is combined with a very strong taste

I tried to make something quickly, and with as few ingredients as possible, that would simply “work”. And what goes with tender fish as good as heat? Nothing!

The recipe I am writing this time is for a very simple fish sandwich that utilises leftover grilled mackerel, but I imagine you can use any other fish meat.

Ingredients (for 2 sandwiches)

  • 1 and a half medium sized grilled fish
  • 2 slices of homemade dairy free bread
  • 4 table spoons canned diced tomatoes
  • one small onion
  • harissa powder
  • dried basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plain white flour
  • olive oil

Instructions

First, you need to prepare the fish. Remove head, skin and bones. With your fingers, go through all the meat for any little bone you have possibly missed the first time. Don’t bother if you mash the meat, no need for nice chunks this time because you will form it into patties.

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In a cup, combine 2 table spoons flour with about 0,5 dl lukewarm water. Add more flour if it is too runny or more water if it seems too dense to make it the consistency of a fairly dense crepes batter. Add a pinch of salt and mix it with fish meat. This batter will work as “glue”. Usually, adhesion would be achieved with an egg, but this time it is simply not an option.

This simple "glue" will stick the patties together. Flour, water and some salt That's it.
This simple “glue” will stick the patties together. Flour, water and some salt That’s it.

The sauce

Now, it is time for the sauce. It is quite simple and contains very little ingredients.

Finely slice a small onion. In a pan, heat up some oil and throw in the sliced onion. Stir for a few minutes until onion is a little bit softer, but still offers some resistance to the bite.

Onion in the pan.
Onion in the pan.

Add salt, some pepper and harissa powder. I used harissa powder, but  I imagine paste would work equally well. Add tomatoes. Leave on heat for another minute until excess water evaporates. If it is too runny, the bread you will put it on will become soggy, which is never a quality of a really good sandwich.

Onions in the pan, with salt, pepper and harissa powder.
Onions in the pan, with salt, pepper and harissa powder.

Once the sauce seems done, try to cool it down as much as you can and then add a good amount of dried basil. Fresh basil would be even better, but it is rarely at hand in this time of the year.

Finished sauce. A lot of taste, trust me.
Finished sauce. A lot of taste, trust me.

Pan action!

Heat up some oil in a pan, and prepare fish patties. I formed them pretty small, but you could make them any size you like. I just thought they will look nice if they are smaller. Also, don’t make them too thick. Because there is flour inside, it is important it is thoroughly cooked. If you make them too thick, the patties could remain uncooked in the centre.

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Put them into the pan. They need four to five minutes per side.

Fish patties in the pan.
Fish patties in the pan.

Now you are basically done. Just slice the bread, spread some sauce on top, and place patties onto the sauce. I didn’t toast the bread, but thinking back, the next time maybe I will. For the texture, if not necessarily for additional taste.

A finished fish sandwich.
A finished fish sandwich. Tender patties on a bed of tomato sauce with harissa, that packs some punch for a beautiful contrast.

Fish Sandwich – the best use for fish leftovers

Fish Sandwich – the best use for fish leftovers

Ingredients

  • 1 and a half medium sized grilled fish
  • 2 slices of homemade dairy free bread
  • 4 table spoons canned diced tomatoes
  • one small onion
  • harissa powder or paste
  • dried basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plain white flour
  • olive oil

Instructions

  1. Prepare the fish - remove head, skin and bones. With your fingers, go through all the meat for any little bone you have possibly missed the first time.
  2. In a cup, combine 2 table spoons flour with about 0,5 dl lukewarm water. Add more flour if it is too runny or more water if it seems too dense to make it the consistency of a fairly dense crepes batter. Add a pinch of salt and mix the batter with fish meat. This batter will work as "glue".
  3. Finely slice a small onion.
  4. In a pan, heat up some oil and throw in the sliced onion. Stir for a few minutes until onion is a little bit softer, but still offers some resistance to the bite.
  5. Add salt, pepper and harissa powder/paste.
  6. Add tomatoes and leave on heat for another minute until excess water evaporates.
  7. Once the sauce seems done, try to cool it down as much as you can and then add a good amount of dried basil.
  8. Heat up some oil in a pan, and prepare fish patties. I formed them pretty small, but you could make them any size you like. Don't make them too thick. There is flour inside, and it is important it is thoroughly cooked.
  9. Place patties into the pan. They need four to five minutes per side.
  10. Slice the bread, spread some sauce on top, and place patties onto the sauce.

Notes

Fresh basil would be even better, but it is rarely at hand in this time of the year. I didn't toast the bread, but thinking back, the next time maybe I will. For the texture, if not necessarily for additional taste.

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