The Perfect Fish Finger Sandwich Recipe
I am bracing myself for the comeback on this one because everyone (or at least, everyone in the UK) has an opinion on what makes the perfect fish finger sandwich. Does it need ketchup, mayo or fancy pants tartare? Should the bread be toasted or soft? Surely you agree that it must be white. Should the fish fingers be home made or from the beardy man box? These are all important questions.

I had my own views and they were strong but you know what? Every time I made a fish finger sandwich it didn’t quite hit the spot. It didn’t blow my mind and that bothered me because as y’all know I pride myself on my sandwich-making abilities.

The perfect fish finger sandwich recipe

And then it happened. I experienced an education in saucing that led to other improvements and before I knew it there it was, right in my mouth – the perfect fish finger sandwich. What did I change? You won’t believe it, guys. You may want to get one hand ready to clamp your jaw shut because I’m about to tell you that the answer is to use both a mayonnaise-based sauce AND ketchup.

I know. You are reeling. The reason it works is because the ketchup offers something I was always missing in the fish finger sandwich: sweetness. People tend to go OTT on the acidity, I find, adding lemon juice, capers, vinegar et al but let me tell you once more – double-sauce is where it’s at. All credit for this discovery must go my pal and fellow sandwich fancier, Gavin.

This led to a complete re-thinking of all the elements, and no matter which way I tried it, those old orange friends from Bird’s Eye no longer made the grade. I will always love you strange, uniform cod sticks but once I upgraded to these (frankly excellent, say so myself) homemade versions I didn’t look back.

The Perfect Fish Finger Sandwich Recipe

There are many reasons why these fish fingers are so good. Firstly, the fish is salted for half an hour before coating to firm up the texture, so what you get is really satisfying flakes of well-seasoned fish, not mushiness. The crumb is also important and its made from panko and cayenne pepper, so super crisp with just a tiny bit of warmth. We also added a titchy pinch of MSG because we like to live on the edge in this house. That’s totally optional, just as long as you know that being scared of MSG is pointless.

So, there you have it: the perfect fish finger sandwich. There is one problem with it, actually, and that is the fact that it has ruined regular fish finger sandwiches for me, forever. I’ll never be able to enjoy a hastily slapped together hangover special again. Maybe.

The Perfect Fish Finger Sandwich Recipe

This makes 4 sandwiches but is easily cut in half.

270g cod (2 fillets)
270g haddock (2 fillets)
15g Maldon or other good sea salt
120g panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon MSG (optional but fun)
Plain flour, for dredging
2 eggs, lightly whisked

8 slices white bread (I use a white loaf from my local bakery, The Hill – you need something soft and white that won’t fall apart too easily but equally you don’t want a hardcore sourdough)
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 tablespoons chopped sweet pickled gherkins
Shredded iceberg lettuce
A few drops malt vinegar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cut the fillets in half lengthways (or whichever way works for the shape of your bread).

Coat them with the salt, cover and leave for 30 minutes in the fridge. After this time, wash the salt off the filets and pat dry with paper towel.

Mix the panko, paprika, cayenne and MSG (if using).

Spread one plate with a little flour, put the eggs in a shallow bowl and spread the crumbs on another plate. Dip the fish first into flour, then egg, then crumbs. Arrange on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.

To assemble each sandwich, spread one piece of bread with ketchup. Mix the mayo and gherkins and spread some on the other piece. Top with lettuce then fish fingers. Close the sandwich and taste. Add a few drops malt vinegar if you feel it needs it.

Jerk Spiced Corn Fritters

When it comes to hangovers I’m sorry to say that I have many points of reference, not that they get any easier. When once it was possible to giddily make your way out into the world after a night on the tiles, it becomes increasingly difficult to even haul your ass out of bed before midday. The still young adult starts off – dare I say it – almost enjoying a hangover, then progresses through various stages of increasing pain before reaching full-blown knuckle-dragging misery.

I have written before that taming the hangover is like dealing with a ferocious beast – you’d better tread carefully because one wrong move and it’s all over. The hangover is something that needs minute-by-minute management, and although I consider myself an expert everyone is different. I am very fussy about food, for example, to the point where things I usually adore, like eggs, cannot pass my lips post-booze. This is a recent development likely to change at any moment. I also can’t stick tea; so where usually I’m a ten cups a day gal, the morning after it’s just rancid tannic bile.

Jerk Spiced Corn Fritters

This is a recipe for a level 2-3 hangover (out of 5). I say that because it does require you to stand up in the kitchen, mix things together in a bowl and fry the results in a pan. The fritters are excellent, though, because a) they’re fried b) they’ve got corn and sour cream and c) they’ve got habanero sauce and I think we all know that it’s my absolute favourite chilli. Make these, pile them up and eat them in bed while binge-watching Netflix.

Jerk Spiced Corn Fritters with Sour Cream and Hot Sauce

This makes 15-20 fritters (depending on how large you make them)

2 x 198g cans (pre-drained weight) sweetcorn, drained
140g plain flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
220ml milk
3 spring onions, very finely sliced
Handful coriander leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1-2 teaspoons Tabasco Habanero Sauce  (remember you’ll add more at the table/in bed)
1 egg, beaten lightly with a fork
Oil, for frying (such as vegetable or groundnut)

To serve

Tabasco Habanero Sauce
Lime wedges
Sour cream
You could also add some grilled bacon…

Sift the flour into a large bowl with the baking powder. Pour in the milk and mix well to make a smooth batter.

Add the sweetcorn, coriander, allspice, spring onion, Tabasco and egg and season with two large pinches of salt.

Heat a 1cm depth of oil in a heavy based frying pan or skillet and wait until it starts shimmering, but not smoking. Turn the heat to medium-high. Drop a tablespoon of the batter into the oil at a time and flatten it out into a round fritter shape. It will take a few minutes to turn golden on the underside – you can then flip it over and brown the other side.

Be wary as the oil will spit a little and splash as you turn them. Set aside to drain off excess oil on kitchen paper. To serve, add lime wedges, sour cream and more coriander and Tabasco alongside.

This recipe was commissioned by Tabasco. All content was written and created by me and I retain full editorial control.