The Filet-O-Fish is a simple sando: bun, tartar sauce, breaded white fish, and American cheese (McDonald’s uses a half slice for their compact sandwich, but I go for the gold with a full slice). Once you have all the basic ingredients on hand, you’ll be able to bang out a meal for four in less than an hour. Plus, you can flash freeze the patties in batches and fry them for later sandwiching. The only challenge along the way is the dredging and frying process, which is manageable if you stay organized.
- Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour, or cover until ready to use.
- Place the vegetable oil in a cast iron pan or wide frying pan and heat to 350ºF. Oil depth should measure at least ½ inch.
- Cut the fish fillets into slight squares 3 inches long, 2 ½ inches wide, and ½ inch thick.
- Pat the fish fillets dry with a paper towel on both sides. Keep covered with the same damp paper towel to prevent it from drying out completely.
- Pulse the panko bread crumbs in a food processor or blender until they are fine crumbs. Place into a shallow dish.
- Mix the flour, Old Bay, and turmeric powder in another shallow dish.
- Beat the egg with the milk in a third shallow dish. Optional: strain the egg mixture into another bowl to avoid strings of egg as you dredge.
- Butter the insides of each brioche bun and griddle in another pan on medium heat for 2 minutes until toasted golden and set aside.
- Place a slice of American cheese on the bottom half of each brioche bun.
- Dredge each piece of fish in the flour mixture and tap off any excess. Make sure to dab the sides, too.
- Dip the fish into the egg, one at a time, and then into the panko crumbs.
- For serving immediately: Once the oil is hot enough, fry the fish patties 2 at a time for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Thicker cuts of fish will take longer.
- Transfer to a rack nested in a lipped sheet pan and finish with a pinch of kosher salt.
- For freezing: Fry the fish patties for 1 minute and 30 seconds until lightly browned. Transfer to a rack nested in a lipped sheet pan and let cool completely. Place them in a single layer on a sheet pan and freeze for 15 minutes before storing in a plastic container or zipper bag for later. To cook again, fry from frozen for 2 minutes at 325ºF until golden brown.
- Skim any panko that has fallen off out of the oil using a spider or dry sieve. Let the oil come back up to 350ºF.
- Repeat with the remaining fish patties.
- Place the fried fish patties on top of the cheese-slice-covered buns, then add 1 tablespoon of tartar sauce and the top bun.
Jenn de la Vega is TASTE's Cook In Residence and the writer behind the blog Randwiches.