February is Black History Month, and this Fried Fish Baguette is the perfect dish to have in celebration. This recipe is inspired by the markets of Zambia, where you can buy an entire fish already fried. I’ve taken the flavor of that market fish and put it in a sandwich, making it a simple and delicious meal that speaks to traditional Southern cuisine, too. I’ve added an additional twist by adding a chili mayonnaise that perfectly offsets the black bass that I use here, and harissa, a North African chili paste. You can buy harissa in stores, but I’ve also provided a recipe for harissa below.
This recipe is from The Soul of a New Cuisine.
Fried Fish Baguette
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 jalapeño chili, seeds and ribs removed
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
- eight 4-ounce black bass fillets, cut in half
- 2 teaspoons Harissa
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Chili Mayonnaise
- 2 baguettes, split lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated
- 4 to 6 lime wedges
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground caraway
- 1 cup mild chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped blanched almonds
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 serrano chilies, seeds and ribs removed
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For Fried Fish Baguette
1. To make the pickled tomatoes, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, chili, and garlic in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
2. Toss the fish with the harissa. Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Add the olive oil and heat until shimmering. Working in batches, add the fish and sear for 2 minutes on each side.
3. Meanwhile, spread the chili mayonnaise on the cut sides of the bread. Spread the mustard on the top cut side. Layer the bottom half with the lettuce leaves.
4. Divide the fish fillets between the two baguettes, layering them on top of the lettuce Top the fish with the pickled tomatoes and cover with the baguette tops. Cut each loaf into 3-inch pieces, and service with lime wedges.
1. Heat the oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the garlic and saute until golden, about 4 minutes.
2. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the caraway, chili powder, coriander, salt, and mint, and stir to combine. Let cool.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
For Chili Mayonnaise
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small saute pan over high heat. Add the almonds and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat, add the chilies and chili powder, and cook just until the chilies begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
2. Transfer the chili mixture to a blender, add the egg yolks, and blend well. Add the lime juice and vinegar and blend well. With the blender running, add the oil in a thin, steady stream and blend until well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.