Cajun Tilapia Sandwiches

I'm a fan of hot sandwiches. Toast a brioche bun and slather it with shredded BBQ chicken, top it with a smashed burger, or nestle a spicy fish fillet on it and I'm in heaven. And while I sometimes will bread my fish, I actually prefer it just heavily seasoned and pan fried without any breading when the fish we're talking about is tilapia. This tender white fish is perfect for sandwiches because it lends that tender foundation to a good seasoning and plays well with all manner of other players under the bun. In this case, a slightly spicy, tangy remoulade makes a perfect pair.

This recipe is all about mixing a quick seasoning blend and then stirring together a few more ingredients to make the aforementioned remoulade. The result is a sandwich that brings a lot of flavor in both a dry rub and a wet sauce. You can add everything from sliced onions and tomatoes to any combination of your favorite greens to the bun, but I actually prefer to toss those into a salad and let the toasted bun, spicy fish, and tangy remoulade work their magic together in the sandwich and leave it at that.

In addition to the salad, I recommend something crispy - fries, onion rings (as pictured), or chips will all do the trick. If you have a good pickle or four around, they are always at home on a sandwich plate. Then dig in and enjoy this classic combo!

Cajun Tilapia Sandwiches

  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 (5-oz.) skinless tilapia fillets
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 4 brioche hamburger buns
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped drained capers
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce

Stir together the smoked paprika, black pepper, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture evenly over the tilapia fillets.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the fish to the skillet; cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the fish from the skillet. Repeat the process with the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil and the remaining fish.

Preheat the broiler to high with the oven rack in the top position.

Arrange hamburger buns, cut sides up, in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil until golden, 30 to 45 seconds.

Stir together the mayonnaise, capers, mustard, ketchup, and hot sauce in a bowl. Spread the mixture over bottom portions of buns. Add the cooked fish fillets; cover with the top halves of the buns.

  • Yields: 4 fish sandwiches
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes