Nashville Fish Sandwiches

As the month comes to an end, I often find myself craving something resembling fast food. Maybe it's the decadence of the holidays followed by the world insisting that we all lose 10 pounds, eat all the salads, and take up jogging ... in the snow, ice, and blizzard conditions outside our doors. It's enough to make me want to dig into a pizza and follow it up with a pint of ice cream. But with just a bit of time and planning, I'll have something better than that that helps the cravings without requiring a trip to the ER for a self-induced coronary.

These Nashville Fish Sandwiches feature tender white fish surrounded by a seasoned, crunchy coating on a toasted pretzel roll, crisp cabbage, tangy pickles, and a glorious drizzle of hot honey. My family was recently introduced to Mike's Hot Honey when it ended up under our Christmas tree. When I looked into what made a Nashville-style sandwich, the requirements were tender protein with highly seasoned, crunchy crust alongside hot and sweet flavors. Seems a perfect application for hot honey, though feel free to choose a different spicy-sweet condiment if you don't have this one on hand.

You can opt for a different kind of roll, though my family loves pretzel rolls and this is a great option. You could use chopped iceberg lettuce, but I really love the crunch and flavor that cabbage provides. I used napa cabbage so I wasn't dealing with super thick piles of cabbage too. You can skip the sliced pickle, but I really love the tangy crunch it adds to the sandwich. Then serve these fantastic sandwiches alongside potato salad or chips and enjoy! And if you'd like, you can always save room for a little ice cream!

Nashville Fish Sandwiches

  • 1 ½ lb. white fish fillets (I used white bass)
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 T. ground cayenne pepper
  • 4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • Fat for frying (I used a combination of bacon fat and canola oil)
  • Pretzel rolls, sliced in half and toasted
  • Mayonnaise, chopped cabbage, Mike's Hot Honey, sliced pickles - for serving

Cut the fish into sandwich-sized pieces that fit the pretzel rolls; add the quarter cup of mayonnaise to the fish and coat well. Set aside.

Mix the panko crumbs, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder in a shallow dish (I like to use a pie plate). Dredge the fish pieces in the seasoned panko and set on a plate or wire rack to rest while you prepare the cast iron skillet.

Heat your fat for frying in a cast iron skillet. You should have about half an inch of fat in the bottom of the skillet. When the frying fat is hot, fry the pieces of fish until golden brown then place a paper towel-lined tray to blot away the excess oil. You can toast the pretzel rolls in the oven while the fish is frying.

Serve the fried fish on the pretzel rolls. Add mayonnaise to one half of the roll, add chopped cabbage, set a piece or two of fish to the sandwich, drizzle the top of the fish with Mike's Hot Honey or another spicy-sweet condiment of your choice, and add a few pickles to the top of the sandwich before placing the other half of the roll on top. Serve immediately with your favorite potato salad or salt and vinegar kettle chips.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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