Nashville-Style Fried Fish Sandwich Recipe

If you like a good Nashville-style fried chicken sandwich, then you’ll definitely want to try it out with fish. I guarantee this spicy fish sandwich, along with an ice-cold beer, will hit the spot on a Saturday night.

This recipe will work well with white fillets that have mild flavor, such as catfish, redfish, walleye, pike and bass. Don’t try this with oily fish, such as salmon or trout.

Some fish have delicate meat that turns soft when cooked. To help preserve the filet’s shape, I like to dip them in buttermilk, dredge in seasoned cornmeal, and repeat that process before frying. The double batter will add an extra layer of crispiness. Lastly, I recommend brushing the fried fish with the hot honey sauce—but beware, it has some kick to it!

fried fish sandwich, meateater, wild + whole

Serving size

6

Time to make

30 minutes

Ingredients

2 lb. fish filets
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. cayenne powder (use 1 tbsp. for mild)
4 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 cups buttermilk
Oil for fryer
Buns or Kaiser rolls
Mayonnaise, pickles, etc. for serving

Slaw:
4 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sugar

Hot Honey Sauce
4 tbsp. butter* (1/2 stick)
2 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. cayenne powder (use only 1 tsp. for mild)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Also works with

Any non-oily fish, turkey or pheasant breast

How to make it

1

Fish Sandwich

  1. Add oil to a deep fryer and set the heat to 375 or high. If you do not have a fryer, fill a cast iron about 1/3 full with oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Clean the fish beforehand and cut into sandwich-sized pieces that fit the bun. Pour buttermilk into a bowl then mix the flour, cornmeal, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder on a large plate. Dip fish chunks into the buttermilk then dredge in the cornmeal. Repeat this step for a double batter.
  3. Fry the pieces of fish until golden brown then place a paper towel-lined tray to blot excess oil.
  4. Serve the fried fish on buns with a drizzle of hot honey sauce. Layer the sandwich with the slaw, pickles and other toppings.
2

Slaw

  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the slaw in a large bowl. Allow the cabbage to soften and rest in the fridge in advance before serving.
3

Hot Honey Sauce

  1. Heat a small sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add the butter, honey, cayenne and garlic powder. Stir until the butter and honey are dissolved, be careful not to let the sugar caramelize. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately while warm by brushing a light layer across the fish filets.

*Note: Using clarified butter will give you a smoother consistency. However, a true Nashville sauce doesn’t include butter and instead uses oil. You can substitute butter with a quarter cup of the frying oil instead.

Serving size

6

Time to make

30 minutes

Ingredients

2 lb. fish filets
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. cayenne powder (use 1 tbsp. for mild)
4 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 cups buttermilk
Oil for fryer
Buns or Kaiser rolls
Mayonnaise, pickles, etc. for serving

Slaw:
4 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sugar

Hot Honey Sauce
4 tbsp. butter* (1/2 stick)
2 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. cayenne powder (use only 1 tsp. for mild)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Also works with

Any non-oily fish, turkey or pheasant breast

Special equipment

Fryer