Verona + Pisa: Filet-O-Fish Reimagined

2014-06-22 16.06.02

McD’s across Europe

McDonald’s is something I rarely eat in the States, but whenever I go to a new country I find myself seeking the Golden Arches. With more than 35,000 restaurants in over 100 countries, McD’s is a globalization giant, making me curious to try them all! Conveniently, the expeditious pace of this road trip warranted the consumption of fast food (even fit a KFC and Subway in there too). Although there were the expected local adaptations, such as the Crispy Coronation Chicken snack wrap in England, macarons in France, and spinach and cheese nuggets in Italy, I found myself consistently going with a Filet-O-Fish (something I don’t even usually order in the States!). So having gotten a Filet-O-Fish in Verona and a pistachio McFlurry in Pisa, I was led to fuse the two together in this Pistachio Crusted Filet-O-Fish on a Homemade Sesame Seed Bun.

Verona, Italy and Pisa, Italy

Verona and Pisa, Italy

Pistachio Crusted Filet-O-Fish

on a Homemade Sesame Seed Bun

Makes 4 servings2014-06-22 12.36.10


For the buns:

  • 1 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 egg, divided*
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 tsp milk
  • Optional: toasted sesame seeds

*This recipe uses 1 egg in total. Half the egg goes in the 2014-06-22 12.43.25dough, some is used to brush the buns before going into the oven, and the rest is used to coat the fish.

For the fish:

  • 2 tilapia fillets, halved widthwise
  • Rest of the egg from above*
  • 1/2 cup salted and roasted pistachios, ground
  • 1/2 panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest (really made a difference; don’t skip!)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil (plus more for oiling the baking dish)

For the condiments:

  • Tartar sauce
  • Provolone cheese


For the buns:

  1. Combine yeast, 1/3 cup flour, and warm water. Let stand until mixture is foamy (~10 min). 
  2. Add in 1/2 egg (reserving other half for later), melted butter, sugar, and salt to the yeast mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.  Add remaining flour (1 1/3 cup).
  3. Use chopsticks to mix initially. Then knead by hand for 5-10 minutes until a smooth mass forms. Dough should be elastic, but no longer stick to your fingers.

2014-06-22 12.45.40

  1. Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil and transfer dough to oiled bowl. Turn the dough over a few times to evenly coat it with a thin layer of oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (~1 hr). 
  2. Transfer dough to a floured work surface and knead the dough punching out the air. Cut dough into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece into a circle by pinching the sides up toward the center 
  3. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (pinched side face down). Dust buns very lightly with flour. Loosely cover with a piece of plastic wrap and let buns rise until doubled (~30 min).

2014-06-22 12.46.36

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. 
  2. Mix together other 1/2 egg with milk in a small bowl. Gently brush tops of the buns with a light layer of egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. 
  3. Bake for 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Let cool before slicing and spreading with tatar sauce. 

For the fish:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F and lightly oil a shallow baking dish.
  2. Rinse halved fillets, pat dry with a paper towel, and set aside on a plate.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together ground pistachios, panko, lemon zest, and olive oil.
  4. Pour the beaten egg over the filet halves and make sure each piece gets coated. In the bowl, one piece at a time, coat both sides of the filet halves with the pistachio mixture.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes easily. Turn off the oven, top each filet with a slice of provolone and return fish to the oven for 1 minute, letting the cheese melt in the residual heat.
  6. Serve filet-o-fishes with a side salad and sliced watermelon for a well balanced meal!
2014-06-22 12.42.20

Sacrificial filet for the flaky fish test –> pass!

2014-06-22 12.44.292014-06-22 12.38.57 2014-06-22 12.41.07

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