This week, Rania Harris is getting ready for the Lenten season with two meatless but still tasty sandwiches, Fried Fish & Grilled Eggplant.

Fried Fish Sandwiches

Vegetable oil, for frying the fish filets
4 – 6 ounce cod fillets
3 tablespoons seafood seasoning, plus more for sprinkling
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
3 eggs beaten
Remoulade sauce, recipe follows
4 Kaiser rolls
4 tomato slices – sliced ½ inch thick
Butter lettuce
1 small red onion, sliced thin
Frank’s Hot Sauce (to taste)

Wash off fillets and pat dry with a towel. Lightly sprinkle with seafood seasoning on both sides.
In 3 separate bowls, place flour mixed with 3 tablespoons seafood seasoning, Panko breadcrumbs and 3 beaten eggs beaten with 1 tablespoon of water.

Dredge fillets into flour, egg and then Panko breadcrumbs. Place the breaded cod filets in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, to allow the breading time to adhere to the fish.

Meanwhile, fill a deep fryer with vegetable oil and heat to 375 degrees. Add the fish to oil and fry until golden brown, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined platter.

Spread remoulade sauce on both sides the Kaiser rolls. Layer some butter lettuce on the bottom, then top with fish, sliced tomato, red onion and hot sauce to taste. Top with more butter lettuce. Add top portion of bread to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Yield: 4 Fried Fish Sandwiches

Remoulade Sauce:

2 – 3 tablespoons relish
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
½ cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
½ lemon, juiced
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce to taste
1 ½ cups mayonnaise
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches

8 (1/2-inch-thick) eggplant slices
1 large Vidalia onion – sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Greek olive oil for grilling the eggplant and sautéing the Vidalia onion slices
1 cup roasted red peppers – cut into strips
4 – 4 inch squares Foccacia bread (split for sandwich making)
2 cups baby spinach leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 slices Manouri cheese (slice a little on the thick side)
Basil Aioli (see recipe below)


Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush both sides of eggplant generously with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Grill or broil eggplant slices until cooked through, being very careful not to burn them.

In a large sauté skillet, heat two turns of olive oil and add the onion slices. Season the onions with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and sauté them until almost caramelized.

Brush the bread slices with olive oil and grill or broil them for 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Spread basil aioli (enough to taste) on each of 4 bread slices. Layer each bread slice, basil aioli side up, with 1 eggplant slice, roasted red pepper strips, Manouri cheese slice and 1 eggplant slice. Top each sandwich with baby spinach, dividing spinach evenly between sandwiches. Top each sandwich a small dollop of basil aioli and top with foccacia.

Yield: 4 sandwiches

Basil Aioli:
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup fresh basil leaves, stemmed
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Chop the garlic with the salt, and then use the flat side of the knife to mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste.
In a food processor, combine the garlic paste, with the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving so the flavors come together.

Yield: 1 ½ cups