When searing the fish to make this mayo- and avocado-anointed sandwich, it is imperative that your oil is hot. Add the fish, and then don't touch it. Don't even move it an inch. Let it sizzle and char, creating a slightly crispy exterior and preventing the fillet from sticking to the pan. Flip and repeat for the perfect blackened fish, courtesy of Michael Chernow of NYC seafood-focused restaurant Seamore's.
To learn more, read "Bait and 'Wich."
Blackened Fish Sandwich
Recipe adapted from Michael Chernow, Seamore's, New York, NY
Yield: 4 sandwiches
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
For the Spice Rub:
2¼ teaspoons paprika
2¼ teaspoons garlic powder
2¼ teaspoons onion powder
2¼ teaspoons dried thyme, crushed
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the Fish Sandwich:
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
2½ teaspoons fresh lime juice, divided
2 avocados, pits removed, flesh scooped out (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 brioche rolls, halved
Four 4-ounce bluefish fillets, skins removed
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 large beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 slices
1 head Little Gem lettuce or ½ romaine heart, leaves separated
1. Make the spice rub: In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients and set aside.
2. Make the fish sandwich: In a separate small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, marmalade and ½ teaspoon of the lime juice, and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, mash the avocado with the remaining 2 teaspoons of lime juice, as well as the olive oil and salt. Taste and adjust the salt as needed.
4. Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. As soon as the butter begins to melt, add the brioche bun bottoms, cut-sides down, and toast until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining butter and brioche tops. Wipe the skillet clean.
4. Season the bluefish fillets with salt and the spice rub. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add 2 teaspoons of canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the fish fillets and cook, pressing down on fish with the back of a fish spatula, until the bottom is blackened and the sides begin to turn opaque, about 2 minutes. Flip the fillets and sear until cooked through, another 1½ to 2 minutes.
6. Lay 1 piece of fish on the bottom of each brioche roll and spoon a generous amount of the avocado on top. Season the lettuce leaves and tomato slices with salt and stack on top of the avocado. Add a spoonful of aioli and top with the remaining sandwich halves. Serve.