Monday, October 8, 2012

Double Fish Sandwich with Provolone and Sweet Pepper Tartar Sauce

Double Fish Sandwich with provolone cheese!  Not only do I cook fine food and international cuisine in this food blog, I also cook fun food!

     I made a batch of shiny burger rolls and slider rolls the other day.  When burger rolls are in my kitchen, I tend to create trendy burger recipes.  Friday is a traditional fish day for many families and it happened to be a Friday when I decided to make an old fashioned fish sandwich.
     I worked in a few fishing village restaurants early in my career.  Every fishing village restaurant had a fried fish sandwich on the regular menu or children's menu.  My first restaurant job was doing prep work in a very busy old school Florida seafood restaurant.  Back in those days, breaded seafood was the only choice for fried seafood.  Beer batter had not quite become popular as of yet and when it did become popular, many old school seafood restaurants stuck with breaded seafood frying.  
     Over the years, one item that I have noticed to be very inconsistent in the restaurant business is beer batter.  Some beer batter seafood is great and some can be terrible!  It just depends on the fry cook's skill or the fry cook's attitude, as to whether a beer batter turns out perfect or not.  Some chefs do not believe in maintaing fryer oil and they let the oil get so dirty, that it looks black.  Old scorched black frying oil is the cause of most poor quality beer batter food.  On the other hand, beer batter food quickly destroy's frying oil.  Moisture and salt are the two worst enemies of frying oil.
     Breaded seafood stays fairly consistent and it looks nice when fried golden brown.  The breading seals in the juices of the seafood.  The breading mixture can be seasoned and flavored with herbs.     
     Many chefs demand adding parmesan cheese to the egg wash, but that is unnecessary if good breading techniques are used.  At frying temperatures, parmesan cheese becomes bitter.  Why waste the parmesan?  Learn good breading techniques instead! 
     Away from coastal fishing village restaurants, a good fish sandwich is not easy to find.  Many people eat fish sandwiches as an option, instead of burgers at fast food joints.  The negative aspects of a fast food fish sandwich are not a pleasant topic for this blog.  
     Number one, the fish is usually fabricated bleached shark meat on a fast food fish sandwich.  Using by-catch shark is totally unacceptable in this modern age of seafood sustainability concerns.  Shark by-catch is the result of long net, long line or drag net fishing.  All three of those fishing techniques produce millions of tons of waste in the form of death for any unwanted catch.  Many shark species are in very low numbers.  Any biologist can express how devastating the impact of depleting the top predator of a food chain can be.  
     I am surprised that nobody has voiced concerns about shark depletion and how fast food restaurant chains are directly involved.  Then again, the shark has been painted as being a monster by Hollywood and the media.  I have swam with sharks and petted wild sharks.  They are intelligent animals and they are not monsters.  They can sense friend, foe or food.  
     Instead of settling for a fast food fish sandwich and possibly having guilty conscience feelings, make a fish sandwich at home with a known sustainable fish!  In fact make it a double sustainable fish sandwich.  Double the pleasure with no guilt!
     Flatfish make great fish sandwiches.  Certain species of sole, turbot, plaice, fluke and flounder are in low numbers and they are not good sustainable seafood choices.  Turbot from Greenland has been in sustainable numbers in recent years.  Greenland turbot is actually in the halibut family of fish and it is not a true turbot.  Any member of the halibut family of fish tastes good and the meat is light and flakey.  Greenland turbot is also marketed as Greenland sole and sometimes it is marketed unscrupulously as lemon sole.  If it is a Greenland flatfish and it is stamped as sustainable, then it is probably a small species of Greenland halibut.  Sustainable Greenland halibut was used to make this double fish sandwich with cheese!

     Shiny Hamburger and Slider Rolls Recipe:
     This recipe makes 3 large hamburger rolls for 6 to 8 ounce burger patties and 6 slider rolls!  
     You can scale the dough for any size burger roll that you want, but for extra large burger rolls, more yeast should be added to the recipe, so the center of the roll does not become too dense.  A 25% to 50% increase of the yeast proportion may be needed for rolls that are larger than 5" wide.    
     Bread flour is used in this recipe.  All purpose flour will not produce the same texture.  
     All measurements in this recipe are volume measurements and not weight measurements.
     This recipe requires no proofing of the dough!   The yeast is accelerated by the sugar during the activation time.
     This recipe is written for an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment! 
     Place 1 tablespoon of dry yeast or 2 tablespoons of fresh yeast in an electric mixer bowl.
     Add 1 cup of lukewarm water.  (115 degrees is good for this recipe)
     Just dissolve the yeast in the water! 
     Add 1/3 cup of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/4 cup of sugar.
     Let the yeast activate, undisturbed, for 5 minutes.
     Add 1 egg.
     Add 3 cups of sifted bread flour.  
     Let the flour float like an island!
     Place 1 teaspoon of sea salt on top of the island of floating flour.
     Place the mixer bowl on an electric mixer.
     Attach the dough hook.
     Turn the mixer on and use a medium low speed to start mixing.
     Scrap the bowl while the mixer is turned off occasionally.
     When the ingredients form a loose wet dough, start adding a little bit of bread flour at a time, till the dough just starts to gather on the hook and pull away from the mixing bowl.
     Add only enough flour to form a soft dough and not a firm dough!
     Bench the dough on a lightly floured countertop.
     This recipe works well for regular size hamburger rolls and slider rolls.  Cut the benched dough into portions.  (Golf ball size portions are slider bun portions.  Hamburger bun portions can range from tennis ball size to baseball size.)
     Roll each portion with one hand, on a flour dusted counter top, till a ball shape is formed.
     Place the tip of the index finger of your hand against the thumb to form a round hole shape.
     Use the thumb of the other hand to press each portion of dough through the hole formed by the thumb and index finger of the other hand.  Press the dough through the hole and stuff the dough into the smooth ball that is formed, so smooth dough ball expands like a balloon.
     When you get to the last bit of dough on each smooth ball, twist the dough ball to seal the dough ball shut.
     Place each dough ball with the sealed side facing down, on a parchment paper lined baking pan.  Space the larger rolls 3" apart and space the sliders rolls 2" apart.
     Resting and Egg Washing:
     Let the dough rest for 10 minutes at room temperature.  Do not proof the shaped dough portions over an oven or in a proofing box!
     After 10 minutes, gently brush each dough ball with plain egg wash.

     It takes just about the same amount of time to bake slider portions as it does to bake large hamburger roll portions.  The larger hamburger rolls do need an extra couple minutes of baking time.  
     Bake in a 425 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.  (Quickly check at 8 or 9 minutes.)
     When the burger and slider rolls are cooked to a light brown shiny color, then they are ready.
     Allow the rolls to cool and stale for 2 hours.
     The burger and slider rolls can be reheated in an oven for about 1 minute before being used.
     Handle the finished shiny burger rolls gently, because the shiny finish is easy to damage.  

     Sweet Pepper Tartar Sauce:
     This recipe makes 1 or 2 small portions!
     Place 3 ounces of mayonnaise in a mixing cup.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of small capers.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of finely chopped Persian pickled wild cucumber.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced sweet orange bell pepper. 
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced parsley.
     Add 2 pinches of tarragon.
     Add 1 pinch of dill weed.
     Add 1 small pinch of cream of tartar.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Place the sweet pepper tartar sauce in a ramekin and chill it before serving.

     Double Fish Sandwich with Provolone and Sweet Pepper Tartar Sauce:
     Place 2 cups of plain fine French bread crumbs in a mixing bowl.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add 1 pinch of garlic powder.
     Add 1 pinch of onion powder.
     Set the breading mixture aside.
     Split a shiny burger roll in half and heat it in an oven.
     Select 2 Greenland turbot filets (Greenland halibut) that weigh about 4 ounces apiece.  (Tilapia filets can be substituted.
     Dredge the filets in flour.
     Dip the filets in egg wash.
     Dredge the egg washed fish filets in the breading mixture.
     Heat some vegetable frying oil in a cast iron skillet to 360 degrees.  The oil should be 1/2" to 1" deep.
     Pan fry the fish filets on both sides, till they become a golden brown color.
     Use a fryer net to place the fried fish filets on a dry towel to drain off the excess oil.
     Place 1 slice of provolone cheese on one of the fried fish filets, while it is still piping hot.
     Place the fish filet with the cheese on the bottom half of the shiny burger roll.
     Stack the plain fish filet on top of the fish filet with cheese.
     Place the sandwich on a plate and lean the top of the shiny burger roll against the sandwich.
     Garnish the plate with thin sliced savoy cabbage, tomato slices and a peperoncini.
     Place the chilled ramekin of sweet pepper tarter sauce on the plate.

     This old fashioned double fish sandwich sure beats a fish sandwich at a fast food joint.  The key word is quality.  Where there is quality, there is flavor!  Do not worry if the pan fried fish filets hang over the edges of the burger roll.  That is part of the old fashioned charm of this fish sandwich.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

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