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Monday, October 31, 2011

Simple Supper: Blackened Fish Sandwiches

I can’t deny the fact that living in the Tampa Bay area for so long hasn’t left some sort of impression on me. I love a good sunset, I know how to combat humidity riddled hair days, I wear sandals 360 days a year, and I love a good fish sandwich.

Before moving here, I’d never had a fish sandwich. Sure, I’d had fried whole belly clam rolls, or hot lobster rolls – very tradition New England fare – but not a simple fish sandwich. Florida converted me to them. I suppose it was only a matter of time.

If you ever travel to the Tampa area, I highly suggest you seek out a Grouper Sandwich. Pretty much every local restaurant serves them, so you won’t have to search hard. You can get them fried, grilled, or blackened. I prefer them fried with a slice of cheese and Brent likes them blackened. I honestly don’t know one person who has ever ordered one grilled, but you can if you want.

You may be wondering why the post it titled TILAPIA and I’m talking about grouper. The point is that grouper can be pretty pricey, so when I get a craving for something similar, I opt for the more wallet friendly and readily available Tilapia. While you can’t mistake tilapia for grouper, enough of the notes are there to hit the spot when I don’t feel like dining out. An added bonus is that tilapia cooks fairly fast and dinner can be done in about 20 minutes.

This particular night, I went for a blackened tilapia and made an avocado and dill spread to balance out the heat.


Blackened Tilapia Sandwiches with Avocado-Dill Spread
*Makes 2

Ingredients:
- 2 tilapia fillets, roughly 4-6oz
- 2 sandwich buns, any kind you prefer
- ½ a Hass avocado
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- Squeeze of lime juice
- 1 teaspoon paprika*
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt*
- ½ teaspoon black pepper*
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper*
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder*
- ½ teaspoon onion powder*
- 1/8 teaspoon celery salt*
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use more for more heat)*
- 1 tablespoon butter or oil
- Lettuce, tomato, and onion if desired
* Or just use any blackened seasoning you like.

Directions:

1. Start by cutting open the avocado and scooping out the flesh. Mix together in a small bowl with sour cream, dill, and a little lime juice. Stir well to combine and set in refrigerator.

2. Mix together all the blackening ingredients and place on a plate. Clean tilapia fillets and pat dry. Press each side of the tilapia into the blackened seasonings, coating well.

3. Heat butter or oil in large sauté pan over medium high heat. Once pan is hot, add tilapia and sear for 4-5 minutes. Flip carefully to sear the other side. Turn heat down to medium for second side and allow to cook for 4-5 more minutes, or until fish is flaky.

4. Serve on lightly toasted buns with avocado-dill spread, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and onions.

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This sandwich was pretty fantastic. The avocado was a great match to the blackened seasoning and it was light, but still filling and satisfying. If you don't like tilapia, or can't find it, use any kind of white fish you prefer and just adjust the cooking time if needed.


Enjoy!

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