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Tilapia Sammies


  • 4 tilapia filets (about 6-8 ounces each)

  • 4 limes, 1 zested and cut into wedges plus 3 left whole, divided

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Flour, for dredging

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 sleeve saltine crackers, ground up in the food processor (about 2 cups of crumbs)

  • 2 teaspoons (about a small palmful) smoked paprika

  • 1 tablespoon (about a palmful) seafood seasoning, (such as Old Bay brand)

  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus additional as needed, divided

  • 4 whole wheat hoagie rolls, split in half lengthwise

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1 chipotle in adobo, finely chopped plus a teaspoon or so of the adobo sauce

  • A few dashes hot sauce

  • 1 small bag slaw mix

  • 1 head Bibb or Romaine lettuce, core removed, cleaned and leaves separated

  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced

  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced

  • 1 small red onion, sliced

  • 1 half-sour deli pickle, thinly sliced lengthwise


Pre-heat oven to 400ºF or a broiler to high. Season the filets with lime zest, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set up three dishes on the counter: One with the flour, one with the eggs and the third with the ground saltines, smoked paprika and seafood seasoning. Bread the seasoned fish filets by first coating them in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the seasoned cracker crumbs (give each filet a little press once it's been through all three dishes to make sure everything sticks well). Once all of the filets have been breaded, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Once the oil is hot (test it by sprinkling a small amount of flour into the pan – it should fry up a little rather than just sit on the surface), place the breaded filets in and cook until golden brown on each side and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side (depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook the fish in batches – if so, add more oil to the pan as needed). Remove the cooked filets to a paper towel-lined plate and squeeze the wedges of lime over them so they soak up the lime juice while they're still hot. While the fish filets are cooking, place the split rolls onto a baking sheet and toast them in the hot oven until golden brown (don’t forget about them or they'll burn!). Combine the sour cream, chipotle and dash of adobo sauce in a small bowl and reserve. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the juice the whole limes, a few dashes of hot sauce, honey, about 2 tablespoons EVOO and some salt and pepper. Toss the bag of slaw mix into the dressing and give it a toss to evenly coat. Once the fish is cooked, assemble the sammies by spreading some of the chipotle sour cream onto each roll. Place a few leaves of lettuce, a few slices of tomato, avocado, onion and pickle on each roll. Top the veggies with a fish filet and serve with a scoop of slaw alongside or over the top.