There is something about the ides of McDonald’s serving fish that has always, always, always creeped me out. Growing up, there were always burgers and hot dogs around, because, let’s face it; what else are you going to serve at a kid’s birthday party? Back in the mid-90’s burgers, hot dogs and Orange Crush was the cause of screaming kids, hopped up on sugar running around your yard.
Growing up with a vegetarian mother and burger-eating friends, I was really not exposed to various types of meat other than beef and chicken. Everything else was foreign to me. I recall my neighbor trying to feed me fish sticks one day and throwing a fit, because I could see the scales under the breaded surface.
So what is the deal with McDonalds and their seemingly out-of-place menu item? A McDonald’s franchise owner named Lou Groen created the original fish sandwich in 1962. At the time Cincinnati (where Groen owned his McDonald’s) was a predominantly Roman Catholic neighborhood, where it’s Catholic customers engaged in the practice of not eating meat on Fridays. Instead of losing these religious customers, Lou decided to create something that would give them the option of eating his fast food on their special day without compromising their practice.
For years to follow many customers of religious background and non-meat eating folks have preferred to consume this fish patty topped with processed cheese, and tartar sauce. Now that it is 2014, I think we can do better…
- 1 large eggplant
- 3 eggs worth of egg replacer
- ½ cup flour, plus more as required
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 small hamburger bun
- 1 Tbsp prepared tartar sauce
- 1 small slice of Daiya cheese wedge
- 1 Tbsp Himalayan rock salt
- oil for frying, I like coconut or non GMO canola
- Combine salt and 2-3 cups of water in a long casserole dish.
- Peel your eggplant and slice into ½ inch to 1 full inch slices. Feel free to cut them into squares to resemble the original Filet o Fish. Place the eggplant slices into the casserole dish and submerge them completely (you may have to add more water). Let them soak for 60 minutes, or overnight.
- While you are waiting for your eggplant to soak prepare your batter station. Using 3 shallow bowls arrange as follows flour in the first, prepared egg replacer in the second and the panko crusts in the third. You will be breading the eggplant in this order.
- Pre-heat your deep-fryer (or a large pot with enough oil to cover the eggplant) to 375-400 degrees. After you have breaded your eggplant, cook for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown.
- While you are frying prepare your bun. Using a steamer, steam your buns until they are soft and almost fluffy in texture.
- Add tartar sauce to crown side of the bun. Place the cooked eggplant filet on top, add 1 slice of vegan cheese wedge centered on the filet, and add heel of the bun and enjoy!