By Cole Karsky | 01/25/23
One of the rewards for a good day on the water is being able to bring back your catch and provide some delicious meals for your friends and family. I enjoy trying new recipes and tweaking them to make them perfect for what my family likes. I also like to try recipes to make my catch go a bit further, and sandwiches are a way to do that! I don’t need to use nearly as much fish as I would if I was doing the traditional catch and cook fish fry.
- One Bag Cole Slaw Mix
- ½ Cup Mayo
- 1 ½ Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Vinegar
- ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
In a bowl combine all ingredients and stir until evenly coated. Dressing will thin out over time and become creamier.
Quick Pickled Red Onions:
- 1 Red Onion
- ¼ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
Thinly slice the red onion. Place in a container that can be sealed. Combine the rest of the ingredients and stir.
- 4 Walleye Fillets
- 1 Cup Fish Fry Seasoning
- ¼ Cup Hot Sauce
Cut up fish to desired size. Add fish to Ziplock bag and pour in Hot sauce. Shake to evenly coat, let rest 5 minutes. Pour Fish Fry Seasoning into the bag and shake to evenly coat. Fry fish to golden brown in 350-degree oil.
First step it to go get the fish! In this case, I will be making my sandwich from a walleye, but I have done this with crappie, perch, and bluegill as well. The walleye bite I was on was a finicky one! We had a tough time getting fish to commit as they were tight lipped! Fish sandwiches are a great meal to plan after a tough outing because I only need a couple of fish to feed my family. I cycled through many baits and presentations before I was finally able to make one commit. This fish fell for my favorite finicky walleye presentation-a Della Bay 15 for 2 ML rod, a Piscifun ICX Frost spooled with 8lb Eurotackle Micro Finesse Braid, and a Wonderbread JB Lures Dub’l D #2 tungsten jig! Using the Frost in this presentation is essential because it eliminates the line twist that happens with spinning reels. I can keep my jig steady and make finesse movements to get the fish to commit. I just paired a Rosie Red minnow on my jig and set it like a deadstick.
Now that the toughest part, catching the keeper walleye, is taken care of, we can get down to the business of making the sandwich. The components this sandwich consists of are relatively simple. They are a bun, fish, relish, homemade slaw, and quick pickled red onions. I like to make my slaw and onions ahead of time, but you can make them as you fry the fish if you prefer. The creaminess of the slaw and the tanginess of the onions and relish play off each other to pair amazing with the crunchy fish. This sandwich is a consistent hit with my whole family!
First, we will coat the walleye. I prefer to use a corn meal-based coating. I think a corn meal-based coating adds more crunch to the fillet and it maintains its crunch better with a sauce compared to a flour-based coating. Our family favorite is Andy’s Red, but we have used many over the years. I will not put my fillets in a traditional egg wash, rather, I will use Frank’s Red Hot as a marinade. This will not make your fish spicy, but rather add some flavor and the coating fries up to more of a crisp. I cut up my fillets, so they are just a bit bigger than the size of the bun I am using. The fillets will shrink up a bit during the cooking process. I will put the fillets in a Ziplock bag and coat them with the hot sauce. I will close the bag and toss the fillets for an even coat. I will then dump the fish breading in that same bag and toss the fish again for an even coat., This is by far the fastest and most even coating method I have used. While I have been doing this, my shallow fry oil has been getting up to temp, about 350 degrees. I will drop in the fillets and let them fry to a nice golden brown turning once for even cooking.
Now that the fish is fried, it is time to assemble the sandwich. I will start with a toasted bun. On the bottom bun I will spread a layer of relish (you can use pickles as well if that is your preference). I will then lay on two pieces of fish. I will top the fish with the homemade slaw, then add the quick pickled red onions on top of the slaw. All these flavors play off each other and you have a crunchy, yet saucy sandwich to enjoy.
Whether you are looking to stretch your catches further and have more meals out of your fish, or you ran into a finicky bite and just didn’t bring home a ton of meat, this fish sandwich is sure to be a hit with your family. We like to add our favorite side of sweet potato fries to this and make it a meal! Try this the next time you have some fish, and I am sure your crowd will agree it is a hit!