Harrison’s Whitefish Sandwich – Redux

Monahan's Seafood Market | Fresh Whole Fish, Fillets, Shellfish, Recipes, Catering & Lunch Counter-Ann Arbor, Michigan

written by Jim

Northern Michigan develops and inspires important writers with a bent toward the outdoors.  Amongst the best was Jim Harrison, whose fine and somewhat naughty road-trip novel “The English Major” includes a (very likely) non-fictional whitefish sandwich at a diner in the village of Epoufette.  Located on US 2 west of the Mackinac Bridge, you’ll find Epoufette around the half-way point of a 60 mile stretch of mostly public, sugar sand beach on the North Shore of Lake Michigan.  Pick a spot.  Pull off the road.  Take a dip and have a picnic.  It’s free.  Harrison wrote like Albert King played the blues; both had an emotional landscape to describe and the chops to deliver.  All they needed was a cool story as a vehicle to do so.

Anyway.  The sandwich.  I imagine it was fresh local whitefish coated in an egg wash then dredged in seasoned flour before being deep fried.  Harrison describes his sandwich as being topped with tartar sauce.   I think it might also have included iceberg lettuce and a couple slices of cardboard tomato that Harrison probably removed.  It was served on (again…..imagining) a hoagie roll off the Gordon’s truck with a side of overdressed, overly sweet, mayonnaisey coleslaw.  Aside from the tomato and slaw, it sounds like a fine meal.

You, dear reader, can recreate and improve this Michigan meal starting here at Monahan’s.  Get a third of a pound of whitefish fillets per sandwich.  Dip them in an egg wash then dredge in dry Drake’s batter mix.  Shallow fry in a quarter inch of hot neutral oil till crispy (maybe 3 minutes per side).  Build the sandwich on a hoagie roll or a brioche with our excellent tartar sauce, crunchy lettuce, and, when in season (NOW!), garden or farmer’s market tomato slices.  Serve it with a lemon wedge and a mound of our slaw and you’re good to go.

How to make it really special?  Well…

Jim’s Harrison’s Whitefish Sandwich

Monahan's Seafood

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