Friday Fish: Southwestern Grilled Fish Sandwiches with Green Chile Goat Cheese and Jicama Coleslaw


I make it nearly a practice to not google or check a cookbook when I first dream up a new recipe. Sometimes the dish-thought has been perking around in my brain or heart for a while; other times it’s a new idea encouraged by time or need. (Say Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up, for instance; I’m probably thinking about Irish food and that will not be corned and cabbage, I can promise you. Or, it’s Lent, like now, and I’m fishing around for fish.)  But afterward, when the recipe’s a PDF or the post is written, I sometimes will search for information on my meal and almost always for additional links to help my cook-readers. (Like where to buy native wild rice or another way to cook beans.)

I have a few cookbooks I could look at.

Once I’m on to the search, the food world nearly always does one of two things and sometimes manages to do both:  it amazes and/or depresses me. First, I’ll see some stellar cook or writer has gone off the edge on the topic and I’m eating up that learning, reveling in their imagination and healthy bent, celebrating a cooking moment.  Then there’s the day I’m flummoxed by a post that seems baby-basic, silly, poorly-written, or just plain old unhealthy. Oddly, it might attract boo-coo readers maybe because there’s video or just because it’s fried, and… for what? (Chocolate Donut Cake — does anyone really cook these things? This has to be just for fun!! Not.)

For this post, I made the sandwiches a week ahead of needing the recipe and just today began a little research only to discover a happily interesting link  you’d probably like, too, if you’re wanting more grilled fish sandwiches.  Check this out from grub  13 Very Impressive Fish Sandwiches to Eat This SummerThe post isn’t new, but I had missed it; see what you think.

Fried or Grilled? That was the question:

I had thought lots about deep-frying a fish sandwich. I deep-fry little–read “not at all”– and this appeared to be a great opportunity to fill a big cast iron pot full of fat. Fried fish sandwiches are so very old school and still appear on most pub menus.  Who doesn’t have a past memory of a great fish sandwich place that every Friday someone would run to at lunch for a sack full of greasy happiness? Then, too, I was stuck on Michael Pollan’s vision from FOOD RULES:

“Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.”

I wanted that home-fried fish sandwich. I bought the cod at Costco (one big old pack, I’ll you) and brought it home. Somewhere in the journey, I moved from fried to grilled because I soon grabbed this– grilled fish could embrace myriad flavors and preparations. Fried fish sandwiches were… well, they were fried fish sandwiches, weren’t they? I went with a grilled fish fillet full of southwest corners, turns, and additions. I live in the southwest, right?

Taken along Berthoud Pass, Colorado

If  you took time to wonder, wander, and salivate over the sandwiches–which are WAY more expensive than mine as they’re on restaurant menus–you’re ready for a fish sandwich. Try mine in your own kitchen this Friday or anytime:

I did this with a stove top two-burner griddle. Want to grill  my fish outdoors? 


serves 4

I like these sandwiches with oven-roasted sweet potato fries and ketchup laced with hot sauce or Sriracha. No indoor grill? Use a large, heavy, heated, and well-oiled skillet to pan-roast the fish for your sandwiches.  I include some shortcuts if you need them.

  • 4 5-6-ounce cod fillets (or other firm 1/2-inch thick white fish liked grouper, halibut, striped bass, swordfish, or tilapia)
  • Marinade (recipe below)
  • Green Chile Goat Cheese Spread (recipe below or use slices of goat cheese and green chiles or slices of Monterey Jack)
  • 4 sturdy buns such as Kaiser, sliced and buttered
  • Crispy greens or thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 2 each, chopped and mixed together:  medium tomatoes and ripe avocados
  • 1 lime cut in half – juice half and cut other half into 4 wedges
  • Jicama cole slaw (recipe below or buy prepared slaw and add cilantro and a little white wine vinegar to off-set sweetness)
  1. Marinate the fish fillets (recipe below) in a 3-4-quart covered glass casserole dish for 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator.
  2. Heat indoor grill over medium high heat.  Grill buns, place on serving plates, and spread the bottom of each grilled bun with 1-2 tablespoons green chile-goat cheese spread. Add lettuce or cucumber on top of the green chile-goat cheese spread.
  3. Turn the fish fillets* over a last time in the marinade. Grill fish fillets about 3-4 minutes until browned on on one side; turn and grill on other side until fillets are firm and opaque, covering if possible. Don’t overcook. Remove to prepared buns on plates. (FDA temperature for fish is 145 degrees Fahrenheit.)
  4. While fish grills, mix tomatoes, avocados and the juice of half a lime in a small bowl. Top each fish fillet with a spoonful or two the mixture. Serve sandwiches hot with a side of jicama coleslaw and sweet potato fries, if desired.

*New to grilling fish or fillets? Check this out from FINE COOKING.


  • Juice of three limes
  • Hot sauce: a few drops, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Whisk together a small bowl or measuring cup.

 JICAMA COLESLAW —  6 servings

No jicama?  Substitute shredded or matchstick carrots.

  • 1/2 head green cabbage, outer leaves removed, cored, and shredded coarsely into 1/4″ slices with chef’s knife
  • 3 green onions, trimmed and minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/2 cup jicama, cut into matchstick-sized pieces
  • Small handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon each crushed red pepper and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pinches white sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar, divided
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise (or to taste)
In a large bowl, place cabbage, onions, jicama, and cilantro; toss well.  Sprinkle with salt (to taste), both peppers, and the first pinch of sugar.   Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar and toss well. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the other 1 tablespoon vinegar with the mayonnaise and the second pinch of sugar.   Pour over cabbage mixture and toss well.  Taste and re-season.  Serve at room temperature or cold.   Store tightly covered in refrigerator up to 4 days.
Cook’s Note:  If you’d like the salad with less fat (no mayonnaise), it’s tasty with ONLY THE VINEGAR (and spices) for dressing.  If you want your slaw a bit wetter and are going to eat it all in one day, you’ll be happy with more mayonnaise.   Please skip crushed red pepper if you don’t like spicy food.
If there’s any leftover, it’s tasty on crackers for a snack. (For crackers: kick it up a notch or two with additional seasoning and maybe 1/4 cup shredded softened very sharp cheddar or a squeeze or two of lime or lemon juice, too.)
  • 4-5 ounces goat cheese, softened (I like Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese.)
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 2 ounces chopped mild green chiles
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Generous pinch each: kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Hot sauce, 2-3 drops

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients briefly by hand or with hand-held electric mixer.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

WINE:  Not. Serve this with your favorite ice-cold beer. Nothing too heavy.

{printable recipe}

More info on grilled fish sandwiches

Want more More time fish?  Type Fish and Seafood or Fish, or Friday Fish in search box. (Can also search by specifics like Shrimp.)  Or try my

Grilled Cod Salad

Cook a new fish,


In memoriam — Raven Canon


4 thoughts on “Friday Fish: Southwestern Grilled Fish Sandwiches with Green Chile Goat Cheese and Jicama Coleslaw

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