There are times when a simple fish sandwich is just what you want, but other times when you are feeling really hungry and want something a little more filling. This recipe is made with tilapia, a homemade tomato and shrimp sauce, bread, and your favorite side dishes, so it is perfect for a hearty lunch or for a comfort food dinner.
The tilapia and shrimp may be fresh or frozen, but if you plan to use thawed seafood ensure it is fully thawed and pat it dry with paper towels, since seafood holds on to a lot of water when frozen. The tilapia is flavored simply with salt and black pepper, although many people like to add chili powder and/or paprika for a bit of a kick. It is pan-fried in olive oil until perfectly cooked. Make the sauce while the fish is cooking.
For the sauce you need tomatoes, green onion, garlic, lemon juice and clam juice. The sauce goes on the bread and then it is topped with the tilapia. You can then put the other piece of bread on to make a closed sandwich, or present it as an open sandwich instead, like in the photo. Toasting the bread before adding the sauce means the sauce should not soak through the bread right away and make it soggy, although you might want to eat this with a knife and fork since it can be messy! This unusual dish teams tilapia with shrimp – both economically priced seafood options, especially if purchased frozen.
- 4 tilapia filets
- Pinch of chili powder and/or paprika (optional)
- Olive oil, as needed
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 4 pieces baguette bread, each 6 inches long
- 2 finely sliced garlic cloves
- 1 finely sliced green onion (white and green parts)
- 2 seeded, chopped Roma tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons clam juice
- 12 small shelled shrimp
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 4 portions fries, rice or potato salad
- 4 portions coleslaw or green salad
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet.
- Sprinkle the tilapia filets with salt and black pepper, along with chili powder and/or paprika if using.
- Sauté for 4 minutes per side or until cooked through (the tilapia will flake easily in the thickest part).
- Meanwhile, you can prepare the sauce.
- Sauté the garlic and green onion with some salt and black pepper in a tablespoon of olive oil for 4 minutes or until the green onion is wilted.
- Stir in the tomatoes and sauté 2 minutes.
- Now add the lemon juice and clam juice, and bring the sauce to a simmer.
- Taste the sauce and add more salt and black pepper to taste.
- If it is too bitter you might want to add ¼ teaspoon of white sugar.
- If there is too much liquid, continue simmering until it reduces.
- When you are happy with the consistency and taste, add the shrimp.
- Cook for a couple of minutes or until pink.
- Slice the baguette pieces in half lengthwise so you have 8 pieces of bread (to make 4 sandwiches).
- You can toast the cut sides if you like (to stop the sauce soaking through too quickly).
- Top one half of the bread with ¼ of the shrimp sauce.
- Top that with a tilapia filet.
- Repeat with the rest of the bread, sauce and fish to make 4 servings.
- You can spread mayonnaise or another creamy dressing over the baguette tops if liked.
- Side dish options include fries, potato salad, green salad and/or coleslaw.
- You might even like a slice of watermelon or other fruit on the side to make it more filling.
- Serve the tilapia sandwiches open (like in the picture) or closed, while they're still hot!
This tilapia and shrimp sandwich pairs two different kinds of seafood which are really good together. The garlicky shrimp and tomato sauce is served on baguette bread and then the tilapia goes on top. We are serving the sandwiches open, with some homemade coleslaw and fries on the side. If you prefer, you can omit the bread, or switch the fries for potato salad. If you use thawed tilapia and shrimp, you will find this an affordable dish to prepare, and pan-fried fish is lower in fat than deep-fried fish. To cut the fat content further, consider swapping the olive oil for nonstick cooking spray, and using a nonstick skillet for the tilapia.
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