I'm a 30 year old stay at home mom of two beautiful boys! I love cooking, crafting, movies, playing with my boos, pop culture, and tons of other stuff! I fancy myself a bit of a foodie and have been trying to incorporate lots of fresh, seasonal, local organic foods into my cooking. Hopefully this blog will serve as a forum for me to try new recipes and share them with anyone who might be interested!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Blackened Tilapia Sandwiches... Where the Southern US. meets Vietnam

Ok, so far this blog is definitely more food than anything else but oh well :) I do love me some food!!! So this is a recipe that I found a few years ago when hubby and I were trying to find ways to incorporate more fish into our diet. The original recipe is a Paula Deen recipe which, in true Paula fashion, starts off with a hefty helping of BUTTER! Being that we were trying to eat healthier, I immediately decided to take this recipe under my wing and make it my own. First things first, 1 stick of butter... Really Paula!?! Ok, enough Paula Deen bashing. I don't love the way she cooks but she does remind me of my Nana :) For the record, I do always make a recipe the way it's written the first time I make it. If I love it then I don't do anything to it but there are some recipes that I've tried that need a good old fashioned tweak!
         So once I eliminated the butter, I started testing out the amounts and flavors of the other seasonings. I found that the 1/4 cup of paprika made the fish taste like nothing but paprika. After cutting everything in about half I found that the flavor was still missing something significant! CUMIN!!! I added a little cumin and it was perfect! The original recipe serves the sandwich with a cilantro lime mayo which, when I made it, I found tasted like mayo... not cilantro or lime, just mayonnaise. I decided this was something else that needed "fixing". I took some ideas from one of my all time favorite sandwiches, the Vietnamese Banh Mi. Banh Mi has a protein of some kind (traditionally it's pate) on nice fresh bread, topped with pickled daikon radish and carrots, tons of cilantro (what you would typically see as lettuce on any American sandwich), and sriracha mayo (there's a fantastic recipe for Banh mi here). I personally didn't like the pickles on the blackened fish, so I left those off  but the cilantro and sriracha mayo hit the nail right on the head! A last second squeeze of fresh lime was the last touch.  The final, perfect (in my opinion) blackened fish sandwich had been created!
oh, and p.s. this sandwich comes in, with mayo and a giant roll, at about 500 calories (according to compared to Ms. Paula's at about 985 :)

Blackened Tilapia hybrid sandwiches:

  • 2 TBSP sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1 TBSP ground thyme
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt (I use pink Himalayan salt)
  • red pepper flake to taste (optional)
  • 4, 4-6oz. tilapia loin filets
  • 4 kaiser rolls
  • bunch of fresh cilantro, washed (you could use basil here if you don't like cilantro, just don't use as much!!)
  • 4 TBSP mayo and sriracha mixed to your particular spice preference 
  1. Combine all the spices together in a small dish and then sprinkle onto the fish. 
  2. Heat either a grill or pan to med high and cook the fish until just beginning to flake apart easily, approximately 3-4 minutes per side (if doing in a pan, you will need a bit of cooking spray so the fish doesn't stick)
  3. mix your mayonnaise and siracha together and spread on both sides of the bun (I make extra for dipping too)
  4. Place desired amount of cilantro on bun and top with fish
  5. Squeeze a wedge (1/4) of lime or lemon over fish 
  6. ENJOY!!!

Start by generously coating the tilapia loins with the seasoning mixture.

The finished product!

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