Blackened Tilapia Sandwiches with Avocado Spread and Crispy Plantains

I used to always immediately think of McDonald’s when anyone mentioned fish sandwiches. I’ve actually never had a Filet-O-Fish, but they were my brother’s favorite when we were lucky enough to stop by the Golden Arches growing up, and I have fond memories of him inhaling a couple while I was munching on my Chicken McNuggets. So in my mind, fish sandwich = boring fried fish on a bun.  But, this all changed after I ordered a blackened tilapia sandwich with cilantro lime mayo on a whim at the Calypso Café in Chicago. Wow, now my mouth actually waters thinking about fish sandwiches because their version was so flavorful and flakey! I’ve raved about the Calypso Café before – they inspired me to make these unique plantain nachos and are one of the many restaurants I really miss now that we’re in Boston. I bought some tilapia recently and finally decided to try making my own version of this favorite at home.

I mixed a bunch of spices together to coat my tilapia fillets and then whipped up an avocado spread since I prefer it to mayo. I topped my sandwiches with some perfect summer tomato slices too, but my little twist is that I also piled on some crispy shredded plantains! They provided a nice crunch and yes, I know it’s a pain to fry things, but they really take this sandwich to a whole new level and are worth stinking up your kitchen to enjoy.  I need to make these for my brother!

Blackened Tilapia Sandwiches with Avocado Spread and Crispy Plantains
Printable Recipe


Crispy Plantains
Canola oil for frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium green plantain, peeled and shredded with a coarse cheese grater

Avocado Spread
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and mashed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blackened Tilapia
1 1/2 teaspoons ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tilapia fillets
1 tablespoon canola oil

4 buns, split
2 tomatoes, sliced

To make the crispy plantains, heat vegetable oil to 350˚F in a fryer. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl; add shredded plantains and toss until well coated with the flour mixture. Remove any extra flour from the bowl, if needed. Place flour-coasted shredded plantains in the oil and fry until light golden brown, about 2 minutes, working in batches as needed. Remove crispy plantains with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

To make the avocado spread, mix the mashed avocados, lime juice, cilantro and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

To make the blackened tilapia, place the thyme, cayenne pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl and mix well. Massage the spice mixture evenly onto both sides of the fillets. Heat the canola oil over medium high heat in a large nonstick skillet and cook fillets on 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Cut fillets as needed to fit the buns (I cut ours in half and put both pieces on one bun).

To assemble the sandwiches, spread the avocado spread on the cut sides of the bottom buns. Place a tilapia fillet on top, followed by a few tomato slices and a mound of crispy plantains. Add bun tops and serve. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Nutrition: 636 calories, 27.6g fat, 6.9g fiber, 33.9g protein per sandwich
Cost: $2.65 per sandwich

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29 Responses to Blackened Tilapia Sandwiches with Avocado Spread and Crispy Plantains

  1. peachkins says:

    I can imagine the combination of flavors!Sounds really wonderful..

  2. Ahhhaha I am the SAME WAY about the “filet o fish” jingle!!

    This looks delicious — I love fish sandwiches!!

  3. elra says:

    Fish sandwich with avo and plantain, that sounds original!

  4. Katrina says:

    That looks so good, I would love it.

  5. Hubba hubba! I dont even eat fish but this looks GREAT!

  6. I always preferred a fish sandwich to a burger when I was a kid–actually, I think I still do! This one looks amazing. The fried plantains sound delicious too.

  7. Joanne says:

    These don’t even deserve to be on the same page as Filet O Fish! Wow this is one super flavorful, super tasty sandwich. I love taking inspiration from restaurants and putting my own spin on it. If I’m ever in Chicago, I’ll be going to this restaurant!

  8. Lucie says:

    One last taste of summer… yummy! Sounds like vacation in a meal!

  9. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Apollo Sinkevicius and Kerstin Sinkevicius, David Brown. David Brown said: Blackened Tilapia Sandwiches with Avocado Spread and Crispy Plantains #recipes #cooking [...]

  10. Sues says:

    Oh wow, could this get any better?!!? Avocado spread?!?! And crispy plantains?!? I have a love affair with sandwiches and this is one I need to add to my list. It looks beautiful, too :)

  11. Monica H says:

    I was drooling as soon as I saw this pop up! Not only do I adore blackened fish but I love a good fish sandwich. This just looks so good!

    My grandma always liked those filet-o-fish too :-)

  12. Michelle says:

    Yum! This sandwich looks great. After our dinner conversation last night, I am totally inspired to bring more fish into my diet. I really need to cook with it more!

  13. I love tilapia and avocado but never thought of pairing them together. Great recipe!

  14. I love the contrast in textures with crispy plantains and creamy avocado spread!

  15. Juliana says:

    Kerstin, this tilapia sandwich looks awesome with the avocado sauce…and the plantains are just the perfect complement to the sandwich :-)

  16. Shannon says:

    ooh, what a fabulous version of a fish sandwich! i have to admit i used to love getting filet o fish (damn commercial) during lent…

  17. Erica says:

    Now that is a sandwich! I love the avocado spread one the bottom- kind of unexpected. If there is a sandwich contest going on- you must enter this!

  18. Daisy says:

    I used to get filet-o-fishes as a kid! i was just like your brother. These look amazing – you are so creative!!

  19. vanillasugar says:

    i just love this creative combo kerstin. a wonderful way to kick up tilapia

  20. Mary says:

    What a gorgeous sandwich. I’d trade a burger for this any day. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  21. Pam says:

    This sandwich looks amazing! I love blackened fish.

  22. Jenna says:

    Yum, that sounds great. I may have to go to Calypso since my husband and I live in Chicago . . .

  23. Karen says:

    The tilapia sounds fantastic with that spice rub!
    I admit that I do occasionally eat a filet-o-fish, but this isn’t even in the same category!

  24. Blond Duck says:

    There’s nothing I like more than blackened tilapia. Except maybe pie. And ribs.

  25. grace says:

    tilapia frightens me (although that rub sounds great), but the creamy avocado and crunchy plantains are quite a draw–great sammie!

  26. Eliana says:

    I have always been scared to try a Filet O Fish. Something about that mystery fish doesn’t jive with me. I would take this sammie though anyday over the mystery one. You’ve got some great flavors here girl!

  27. Rachel says:

    I enjoy searching food blogs and recipe sites for new ideas for dinner, so when I saw your spin on this fish sandwich, I wanted to give it a try. We just had these for dinner tonight and made the sandwiches without any adjustments to your recipe (aside from the bun being a toasted onion roll). DELICIOUS! Everyone at the table agreed. I will definitely make these again and add it to my collection of regular dinner entrees. Thanks for sharing!

  28. Thanks everyone!

    Jenna – It’s worth the trip to the Hyde Park!

    Rachel – I’m SO glad you enjoyed them! Your comment made my day – thanks for taking the time to let me know :)

  29. [...] Day 5- Blackened Tilapia Sandwiches with Avocado Spread [...]

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