Fish and I have always had a special relationship.

salt and vinegar chip crusted fish sandwich I

Fish, especially crispy, fried fish, is quite nostalgic for me. It reminds me of Friday nights in Boyne City, Michigan, the nights where I’d shovel all-you-can eat fried fish in my mouth until I was blue in the face. Topped with malt vinegar, that crunchy, cold blooded little swimmer, most likely plucked from the lake mere hours before, tastes better than any fried fish you’ll find at your local fish fry, regardless of how wretched it may make you feel afterwards.

salt and vinegar chip crusted fish sandwich I

I’d then fall into my grease-induced deep sleep, only to awaken the next morning to my dad making fluffy blueberry pancakes, having just returned from fly fishing where he wore waders that were taller than me.


Then boys would spend hours standing out on the rocks, just hoping to catch a little sunfish for the fun of it from a slimy worm that petrified me just enough so I wouldn’t come near. The “boys” being my brothers, whom I tortured that morning to the point that they were more annoyed than I am each night at 3am when I wake without any covers.


I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep since I got married, just to let you know. Not since 2008. 29 months. But who’s counting?

salt and vinegar chip crusted fish sandwich I

Perhaps it is the rarity in which I get to eat that delicacy that always sends me on the hunt for a fish sandwich so good that it takes me back to hot days and cool nights, sandy beaches and sunscreen in my eyes, bubbly glasses of Vernors that shoot tickles up my nose and sunsets so deeply pink they make your heart hurt. Or maybe I just really love food. It could be that too.


Either way, ever since my brother Will told me that he ate a salt and vinegar potato chip crusted piece of fish last week, nothing else has been on my mind. And I mean nothing. Except for the piece of bacon I dipped in salted caramel yesterday. Why yes, that was lovely.

salt and vinegar chip crusted fish sandwich I

But besides that, nothing else.  See, potato chips aren’t really my thing. I would much rather immerse myself in a square slice of tiramisu so creamy and caffeinated that it makes my head spin. But give me salt and vinegar chips and I’m your new best friend. The golden retriever that won’t leave your side. The peanut butter to your jelly. The bacon to your caramel. That’s right.

salt and vinegar chip crusted fish sandwich I

I’ll tell you a little secret: I used to take 3 or 4 chips out of the bag when I was younger and pair them with a few pieces of lacy alpine swiss cheese. It exploded with loads more flavor than a boring ham sandwich did, thought I’m not sure the tang-scorched taste buds on my tongue would agree.  So as I plucked a bag of salt and vinegar kettle cooked chips from the grocery store shelves on Monday, it was only a matter of minutes before I had the deli slicing me some paper-thin alpine swiss.

salt and vinegar chip crusted fish sandwich I

But I left the cheese to my own devices and got to work on the fresh cod I brought home, smothering it with crushed chips so tangy that my eyes began watering. After a crispy bake in the oven, I planted it on a toasted whole wheat bun lathered with old bay mayonnaise. I bit into one of the best fish sandwiches I have ever tasted, and surely the best I have ever made at home. And it was then that I was transported to a hot summer day on an old wooden dock, wiping water droplets from my eyes, because, well… food is memories friends.

salt and vinegar chip crusted fish sandwich I

Oven Fried Fish

4 fresh cod filets (frozen will probably work too, just thaw and dry completely)

2 egg whites

2 cups crushed salt and vinegar potato chips

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay a wire rack on top, spraying it with non-stick spray. Add potato chips to a ziplock bag and crush them into fine pieces.

Season the cod filets with just a touch of salt (not too much, the chips are salty) and black pepper. Dip each filet in the egg white (I use only egg white as I feel that whole eggs make the delicate fish taste too “eggy”) then dredge through potato chips mixture, pressing so the chips stick. Lay on the wire rack and spray each filet with non-stick spray or olive oil. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until fish is golden brown.


Kale Chips

6 cups of raw kale, torn into pieces

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or salt, pepper and parmesan cheese)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lay kale on a baking sheet and spray with non-stick spray or olive oil. I highly recommend using a spray or misto as it coats the kale perfectly. Top with nutritional yeast (you can find this at Whole Foods or any nutritional/healthy store. I find that the flavor is incredible!) and bake for 10 minutes. Flip once, then bake for 10 minutes more.

salt and vinegar chip crusted fish sandwich I

I can only imagine the memories that bacon and salty caramel will invoke one day. Note: it won’t involve the beach and bikinis.

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164 Responses to “A Good Fish Sandwich [With Chips].”

  1. #
    Moni'sMeals — April 8, 2011 @ 11:37 am

    so good to just look at, it tells a story!


  2. #
    Anne @ Baking Me — April 8, 2011 @ 11:40 am

    I am totally making this next week for dinner, it looks so good!


  3. #
    Jenny — April 8, 2011 @ 11:45 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and LOVE it and I just had to comment today. My family has a condo in Boyne City and it is my favorite place in the world! I had to do a double take when I read that!


    • Jessica — April 8th, 2011 @ 11:50 am

      Ah! Where at? My great grandparents lived right on the lake and have passed, but we go every year!


      • Jenny — April 8th, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

        I’m sorry to hear that. It’s great you still go though, it’s a great place!

        We are at the Harborage, the condos right by the marina. Have you gone to the Red Mesa? I dream of their sour cherry margaritas … and pretty much everything on their menu!

        • Jessica — April 8th, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

          That is CRAZY. We stayed at the Harborage many times. Will be there in August! And yes, we live at Mesa Grill… lunch and dinner both!

  4. #
    Erin S. — April 8, 2011 @ 11:50 am

    This looks amazing, what a great idea! Can’t wait to try it!


  5. #
    Christina — April 8, 2011 @ 11:50 am

    Food is memories. So true. I think of my Dad whenever I see crispy fish. He used to have fish stick sandwiches all the time when I was a kid. This looks delicious by the way, and I’m not even a fish person. :)


  6. #
    katelyn — April 8, 2011 @ 11:59 am

    OMG! My family does that with plain potato chips and chicken! We call it “potato chip chicken.” Shocking, I know. But you do it exactly like that, and it is my most favorite dinner of all time. Pair it with some creamy mashed potatoes and you are in heaven!


    • Jessica — April 8th, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

      I need to try this with chicken… Mr. How Sweet will go crazy!


  7. #
    maria — April 8, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

    This looks really good! Being from WI, where fish frys are HUGE, I’ll have to try this alternative. A traditional fish fry is oh so good, but is never nice to me the next day. Good choice of beer!!!! Summer shandy is one of my faves. Have you ever tried mixing the honeyweiss with the berryweiss, to make a honeybear? It’s delightful!


  8. #
    Your brother Will — April 8, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

    I had the original version of this fish sandwich at rock run inn in Elizabeth PA by chef Ryan Estel. Please come try it.


  9. #
    Newyorkerbyheart — April 8, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

    Wow, have never tried with potato chips – I have to do that :-)

    Have a great weekend!

    My best,


  10. #
    janetha @ meals & moves — April 8, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

    JESSICA this is briiiiilllliant!


  11. #
    Natalia - a side of simple — April 8, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

    Fridays during Lent never sounded so good…. :)


  12. #
    Anne — April 8, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

    Love that you use salt and vinegar chips for the crust of this…my favorite!

    Also, I use a king size duvet cover on a queen size bed. A life-saver because I’m not super pleasant when I wake up cold in the middle of the night…


  13. #
    jessi — April 8, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

    this sounds incredible! also, if you want to go out for fish and chips (in the pittsburgh area) my favorite thus far is at claddagh irish pub in southside works. their “chips” are wedged potatoes made with dry ranch dressing…mmmmm. i refuse to order anything other than their fish and chips when i go because it is so dang good. oh and during lent on fridays they are buy one get one free, holla! if you go, get a “snakebite”…it’s harp and cider mixed together which equals pure heaven :)


  14. #
    Jess — April 8, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

    i love salt and vinegar chips, what a great idea to use them as a crust to fish!


  15. #
    kate@ahealthypassion — April 8, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

    so creative that you used the salt and vinegar chips !


  16. #
    Kim — April 8, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    My mouth is watering! Too bad I don’t have any motivation to go to the store or else I would definitely make this tonight! I lived in Traverse City for 5 years and after reading your post I am so homesick! We live in downstate Michigan now but it’s not the same as the north! Thanks for the yummy recipe! :)


  17. #
    Gina — April 8, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

    I’m from Nothern MI and think of home everytime I see fish and chips on the menu (which is often because I live in the Pacific Northwest where the seafood is abundant!) Fun fact…I recently saw “Great Lakes Perch” on a menu out here in Seattle. I’m going to have to make my way there to try it out!!!


  18. #
    Kacy — April 8, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

    I’m going to HAVE to try this! I love fried fish/fish sandwiches and salt and vinegar chips may be my favorite thing in the world. Perfect combination!


  19. #
    Jenna — April 8, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

    This is too amazing! I can’t wait to make this on the weekend. It would be especially nice with beer too. Your recipes are too amazing! I made your spinach, orzo and strawberry salad, and my boyfriend and I both loved it! But he LOVES fish and chips, especially salt and vinegar ones, so this definitely needs to be made! Thanks again for a great recipe Jessica!


    • Jessica — April 8th, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

      Thank you so much Jenna!


  20. #
    Kélé — April 8, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

    Looks delicious! I’m a big fan of tarter sauce but I hadn’t thought of Old Bay mayo! I’m from Michigan too and after moving to IN 2 and half years ago I find myself missing it like crazy! The water, the outdoors, the fish sandwiches and yes Vernors.


  21. #
    Biz — April 8, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

    I am not a fish lover at all, but I’d eat that – salt & vinegar chips are my fav. :D

    Summer Shandy is my summer beer – can’t wait until its warm enough to enjoy a cold beer!

    Have a great weekend!


  22. #
    Molly Jac — April 8, 2011 @ 4:32 pm
  23. #
    Molly Jac — April 8, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

    P.S love the fish recipes for Fridays. I never can switch it up for lent. You rock!


  24. #
    Alaina — April 8, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

    I’m not a huge fried fish fan but I could totally see myself making this with sour cream and onion chips. :-)


  25. #
    Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen — April 8, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

    Ohh – I love the idea of doing this with the salt and vinegar chips!!


  26. #
    Jennifurla — April 8, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

    You are all sorts of genius, why didnt I think fo this!


  27. #
    doniree — April 8, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

    THAT is the best idea ever. Both the chips + cheese thing and the chips-as-batter thing. Recently tried saltines for fried fish, but something tells me THIS is better. Also, I can not get enough of your photography and writing style.


  28. #
    Dana — April 8, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

    I know exactly what fish fry you are talking about! I spent a good chunk of my childhood summers in Boyne, too! What a small world!


  29. #
    Laura — April 8, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

    I have been looking for a good fried fish recipe- this looks awesome since I love salt and vinegar chips. Also- Summer Shandy is hands down my favorite beer in warm weather. Love that it’s that time of year again- yum!


  30. #
    Taylor — April 8, 2011 @ 10:53 pm

    Boyne City is the BEST! I grew up spending summers on Lake Charlevoix/ Walloon Lake and miss it so much now that I’m in a big city. Red Mesa Grill is my JAM. That fish looks delish, must try it soon :)


  31. #
    Andrea @ — April 9, 2011 @ 12:47 am

    Jessica, this is so beautifully written. You are wonderful (WONDERFUL) at relating your meals to memories. I adore fish sandwiches, and being from New England, I really really (No, but really) miss fish and chips. Nothing like that haddock.

    Thanks for a fabulous recipe :)


  32. #
    megan — April 9, 2011 @ 7:18 am

    You’re from Michigan??? I feel our instant connection :) I am still here, went to Ferris and dated a boy from Petoskey, where I was introduced to the beauty of Northern Michigan and all us “fudgies” who tried to act like we belonged there! I love it!!!

    I’ll be trying this tasty recipe soon…right after a few more decadent dessert recipes :)


    • Jessica — April 9th, 2011 @ 7:39 am

      Nope, I am from Pa… my grandparents were from Michigan and we have just always vacationed there!


      • megan — April 15th, 2011 @ 8:07 am

        Michigan as vacation: got it :)

  33. #
    Maranda — April 9, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    oh wow! salt & vinegar chips are a new favorite of mine! These look so good!


  34. #
    Kate — April 9, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

    This post made me (a) hungry; and (b) miss northern MI. Thank you for the receipe!


  35. #
    Peggy — April 10, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    This sounds like an absolutely stellar fish sandwich! I love that it’s baked, and the salt and vinegar chips to crust the exterior is just genius! =)


  36. #
    Sam — April 10, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

    I made this last night and it was delicious! I didn’t have any cod, but I used tilapia instead and it was yummy! It wasn’t very “salt and vinegar”-y at all. I didn’t make the sandwiches, just the fish fillets. Great idea! Definitely a make again!



  37. #
    Alicia — April 11, 2011 @ 4:03 pm

    I saw something like this on that show, ricardo and friends, but he used pork. Not sure how chip crusted pork would taste..I think the fish and chips sounds like a better combo!!


  38. #
    Molly — April 11, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

    I made this for lunch today, and it was good. I had hoped it would taste more salt-and-vinegary, though. I might add some Malt Salt next time instead of regular salt and pepper.

    I had some trouble getting the chip crumbs to evenly coat the cod…any tips?


  39. #
    Holly B — April 12, 2011 @ 10:10 am

    These look amazing! Making them tonight :o)

    Vernors?! It’s hard to fine anyone on the east coast who knows what this is….Where are you from?


    • Jessica — April 12th, 2011 @ 10:29 am

      I’m from Pittsburgh but my dad’s side is from Northern Michigan and we have vacationed there every summer!


  40. #
    Jennifer — April 12, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

    I just got done making and eating this recipe. It’s GREAT! I used a pound of tilapia and just crushed enough chips along the way to coat the pieces I had. I love the flavor that the chips give this oven-baked fish…the greasy taste and crunch of the chips mimic the deep-fried flavor very well for far less work and I’m guessing, far less calories. This is definitely going into rotation here and I look forward to trying it with other kinds of fish…I just happened to have the pound of tilapia on hand but really want to try it with haddock.


    • Jessica — April 12th, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

      I am so glad you liked it Jennifer!


  41. #
    Sarah — April 12, 2011 @ 10:21 pm

    Oh dear Lord, i’ve just discovered you’re blog through Eat Live Run. I think i’ve seen everything i’ve ever wanted to make for the next month…just to get me started! this is incredible! i feel like i’ve found a hidden gem in the food blog world :)


  42. #
    Michelle — April 12, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

    Wow- the Boyne City reference hit home; I went to a great fish fry at one of the restaurants on the water last summer with a friend who lives there… What a beautiful area :)


  43. #
    Kristen — April 13, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

    Are you from Michigan?! I am from the Detroit area! I LOVE VERNOR’S! Best pop ever.


  44. #
    Claire — April 14, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

    Yep, I am making this immediately.


  45. #
    Karly — April 18, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

    Can I share something on this little family-friendly blog of yours? It’s not SUPER family friendly, but it’s super funny, so I feel the need to share. Delete me if you must.

    One day, long ago, I was on a road trip with a few girls. I was in the back and opened up a bag of S&V chips. As the smell drifted to the front, one of the girls up there turned around and shouted “Who’s d**ching in the backseat??” Apparently the smell is similar to some, uh, feminine hygiene products.

    I’m sorry. I had to share that. I still giggle when I eat those chips.

    And you can thank me for leaving out all the jokes involving coating the fish in these d**che chips. :)


    • Jessica — April 18th, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

      LOL!! I love you.


  46. #
    Allison — April 25, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

    This looks so freakin good. I have seen potato chip crusted fish recipes before, but never with salt & vinegar chips (my only favorite chip as well), and never looking this good. This makes me want to go to the store and get the ingredients and make this tonight. I mean I was super excited for the steamed artichoke and the salad I was going to eat (or not), but this is probably just as low in calories right? I mean it is baked which negates the whole potato chip situation I’m thinking…


  47. #
    Alicia — April 26, 2011 @ 8:53 am

    Ok, I want to make this tonight and maybe I’m just special but I wanted to check first…. Do I actually bake the fish on top of the wire rack (on top of the baking sheet) in the oven??


    • Jessica — April 26th, 2011 @ 8:55 am



  48. #
    Alicia — April 26, 2011 @ 8:56 am

    Thanks!! So excited to try this tonight. Yum. I’m hungry now….


  49. #
    jason — July 12, 2011 @ 11:57 am

    I…I think I’m in love. With another man’s wife. A girl that can write, AND cook, AND likes salt-and-vinegar? *SWOON*


  50. #
    Terin — July 31, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

    Ok…so I made this tonight and am in love. Genius idea. I feel so much better having not ingested the oil and batter of traditional fried fish. The BF loved it also and even liked the kale chips!!! I added Sriracha (my hopeless addiction) to the mayo with old bay. This has been added to my “go to recipe” list. THANK YOU!



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