Is there anything more satisfying than a perfectly fried fish sandwich? Crispy and tender, rich and light, this sandwich is surely one of our favorites. And thanks to recipe developer Christina Musgrave of Tasting with Tina, it’s no longer solely within the purview of your favorite drive-thru. You can prepare this goodness right in your own kitchen.
"I wanted to create an elevated version of a fried cod sandwich you’d get at a fast food restaurant," she explains of the inspiration behind this recipe, which features cod fillets breaded and shallow fried before being piled on burger buns and topped with tartar sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, and pickles. (Is your mouth watering yet?)
The cod fillets in this recipe are rendered extra crispy, thanks to Musgrave’s choice to use panko breadcrumbs, which she likes not just for their superlative crunch, but also for "the rough texture of the panko in contrast to the smooth texture of the cod." It makes for a wonderful sensory experience from the first bite to the last.
Gather the ingredients to make fried cod sandwiches
To make this fried cod sandwich, you will, of course, need cod — 2 pounds of it, cut into four even portions. If you can’t find cod, Musgrave notes, "Any other mild white fish would work, but cooking times may vary." Haddock or pollock are also solid choices.
The cod is first dredged in flour before being dipped into egg and breaded in panko, seasoned with garlic powder and onion powder. To fry the fish, you’ll need 2 cups of vegetable oil, and for the assembly, round up toppings like tartar sauce, tomatoes, pickles, and lettuce. Musgrave likes to serve these sandwiches on sesame seed buns, but, she notes, "This is all about personal preference." Choose your favorite brand or type of bun, like a potato roll, kaiser roll, or even a buttery brioche bun.
Bread the cod fillets
The first step in making these fried cod sandwiches is to bread the cod. First, pat the fillets dry, which will help the breading adhere to them. Next, prepare three bowls in a line on your work surface. Fill one with flour, the next with eggs whisked with water, and the last with the panko seasoned with garlic powder and onion powder. Musgrave notes that if you’d like, you can get creative and add other seasonings like Old Bay or cayenne to the panko breading.
Once your three bowls are lined up, it’s time to bread! Dip each fillet first in the flour, coating well on all sides. Then, move to the egg mixture, and finish with the panko.
Fry the cod fillets
The cod fillets are now ready to fry! First, heat the oil in a shallow pan, making sure it has enough room at the top for the oil level to rise when you add the fish. When the oil reaches 350 F (Use a kitchen thermometer to check!) add the fillets, working in batches, if necessary, so that you don’t overcrowd the pan and risk dropping the oil temperature, which will give you soggy fish. Cook each cod fillet for three minutes per side, or until crispy and nicely golden brown.
Drain the cod fillets
When the cod is crispy and cooked through, remove each fillet from the pan, and place on a paper towel to let the excess oil drain off. "This helps make the fish crunchier," explains Musgrave of this essential step. "If the excess oil stays on the fish, it can get soggy faster."
At this point, she notes that you can also season the fish with a pinch of salt, if you’d like. "But, it’s not necessary to create a delicious sandwich," she says.
Assemble your delicious fried cod sandwiches
Once the excess oil has drained, it’s time to assemble your tasty fried cod sandwiches! Make each sandwich by placing a fried cod fillet on each bottom bun. Top the cod with tartar sauce, sliced tomatoes, pickles, and lettuce. Finish with the top bun, and the sandwich is ready to serve and enjoy.
When it comes to condiments for these fried fish sandwiches, you can certainly swap out the tartar sauce for other sauces like remoulade, mayonnaise, or even a simple malt vinegar, so beloved on fried fish in England. A side of French fries or a simple green salad would both make wonderful accompaniments.
- 2 pounds fresh cod, cut in 4 pieces
- 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs, whisked with 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 4 buns, for serving
- tartar sauce, for serving
- sliced tomatoes, for serving
- sliced pickles, for serving
- fresh lettuce, for serving
- Pat the cod fillets dry.
- Combine the panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and onion powder in a bowl. Place the flour in a separate bowl. Whisk the eggs with the water in a third bowl.
- Dredge each fillet in flour, egg wash, and finally the breadcrumb mixture. Then, set aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a shallow pan to 350 F. When the oil is heated, cook the fish in batches for 3 minutes per side. Remove from the oil, and place on a paper town to let the excess oil drain.
- Assemble the sandwiches by placing the cod fillet, tartar sauce, sliced tomatoes, pickles, and lettuce on a fresh bun. Serve immediately.