Friday, 27 July 2012

Fish Finger Sandwich

The fish finger sandwich seems to be fondly remembered by many who enjoyed it in their younger years and who consider it one of their first comfort food experiences.  It's certainly popular amongst students too which isn't surprising, being easy and quick to make.  Despite my many years of recreating takeaway food and general food obsession, I have to admit to having never experienced this culinary delight before.

I decided that this had to change and so set about discovering what people consider to be the do's and don'ts when it comes to creating the ultimate fish finger sandwich.  Now, on the surface, a fish finger sandwich may sound like something which is very simple and doesn't require much thought.  This may be true if you're a) drunk or b) normal.  For food obsessed folk however, even something as simple as this can require a great deal of thought and consideration in order to ensure the end result reaches perfection.

So, first things first.  You can't make a sandwich without buttering a few slices of bread, or something like that.  It seems that even the choice of bread is much debated amongst fish finger sandwich fans.  Many people like to spruce things up by using a fancy bread such as ciabatta, or a good quality wholemeal with a strong crust on it.  Toasting the bread is optional and this of course leads to more decision making.  The classic (and Scottish) 'plain loaf' is favoured by many.  This sounds good to me because it offers a thick, almost heavy and dry bread which is ready, untoasted, to soak up your chosen condiments without turning soggy.

Speaking of condiments, this is a minefield in itself.  Mayonnaise, ketchup, brown sauce, salt and vinegar, tartar sauce; All of these and more have found their way into a fish finger sandwich.  Many also like to add a cheese slice, a strange addition on the face of it but one which has worldwide recognition nowadays thanks to a certain large burger chain who also endorse this with fish and bread (although in their case only a half-slice of cheese is offered per sandwich).

If you're not already exhausted with the ins and outs of the fish finger sandwich by this stage, keep in mind that we haven't even begun to talk about the fish fingers themselves at this point.  Cod, haddock, pollack (or pollock if you so desire).  Breaded or battered.  So many decisions need made and I'm sure you'll agree that we can now safely say this is not the simple sandwich it seemed to be at the beginning of this journey.  Some people even like to add salad leaves and tomato, complicating things further still.

So, in order to get the ball rolling and get involved, I decided to work with what I had, keep things simple (I'm a fish finger sandwich virgin at this stage remember) and have a go.

Having no Scottish plain bread in the larder, my hand was forced and I went with a Warburton's 'Toastie' loaf.

This is a fairly thick sliced bread and so I made the decision not to toast it.  An untoasted toastie bread?  The clue may be in the name and Warburton's may not be too happy that we didn't follow their polite recommendation but we'll push on regardless.

My fish fingers of choice (also known as 'the ones I happened to have in the freezer) are Morrisons own brand.  They're breaded and contain 100% haddock which seems like a plus point.

For speed, I elected to fry the fish fingers gently in a non-stick frying pan with just a little oil.

Condiments wise, again alluding to my entry-level status as a fish finger sandwich eater, I've kept things simple with just a little sea salt and a very stingy dash of malt vinegar.

The final result:

I can certainly see the attraction in a fish finger sandwich.  It is indeed quick, easy and tasty.  I have to confess to a last minute change of plan however, in that my first bite of the sandwich tasted ever so slightly bland, which led to me adding a little ketchup after all.

This had never seemed appealing to me but it definitely added a great flavour to the sandwich.

Are you a fish finger sandwich fan?  If so, please feel free to comment on the various mistakes I may have made and advise me on how to improve on my future sandwiches.


  1. Yes! The Mighty Fish Finger Sandwich, one of our guilty pleasures when my son visits.

    We use thick sliced white bread at least a day old, otherwise it doesn't hold up well to the filling, the Warburton's Toastie is perfect.

    Good quality fish fingers, cooked the way you did.

    Very lightly toast the bread, unless your using a Scots plain loaf which as you suggest is fine as it is.

    Now, working fast, put a scraping of butter or spread of your choice on the bottom slice, a good smear of mayo on the top one, put fish fingers on the bottom slice, a drizzle of tomato ketchup to taste on top of them, then on with the top slice mayo side down! Press down lightly, cut in half (or not) & eat, delicious.

    I suspect this is one where there are as many recipes as there are cooks :)

    1. Thanks for the reply Swan! I'll try making it the way you described next time for sure :)

  2. Salad cream seems to be my family's condiment of choice.

    1. I haven't had salad cream for years! Always interesting to hear how other people do things, I'll add this to the list of ways to try the fish finger sandwich :)

  3. You can make a super-fast fillet-o-fish style fish finger sandwich by spreading one slice of bread with ketchup (after your butter) and another with tarter sauce then adding a slice of plastic cheese - nom

  4. Oh and add a McCain's hash brown!

  5. Thanks for the awesome dish. I am looking forward to having this special food this weekend.