Laurie Lee’s Fussy Fishwich (enough for two sandwiches and a little left over)

Do you remember Petes Seaside Cafe in Avila Beach? How about Miss Barbara’s By The Sea? It was so much fun at Avila Beach back in the 70’s.

Re: Pete’s – here ya have it, my very own rendition of his famous fish sandwich. In Morro Bay, I acquire the freshest fish available from Giovanni’s Fish Market. If you get this just right, it’s is a winner! DO NOT let the bread get soggy!


Fish Sandwich Ingredients:

  • 4 slices Brian’s sourdough, sliced
  • 1 lb. Fresh filet of halibut, fresh wild caught de-boned, no skin
  • 1/2 cube butter
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. fine quality olive oil
  • 2 to 3 clean Meyer lemons, wedged
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced fine or Susie Q’s seasoning, lightly sprinkled.
  • 1/2 cup Bubbies bread and butter chips (pickles) chunky dice
  • 1/2 cup Best Foods mayonnaise.
  • 4 leaves of Romaine lettuce, patted dry
  • 2 medium sized, extra firm fresh garden tomatoes patted dry
  • 1 tsp. Pink Himalayan sea salt, or Susie Q’s seasoning, lightly sprinkled
  • 1 tsp. Black pepper, cracked, or Susie Q’s seasoning, lightly sprinkled.
  • 4 pieces Flat leaf parsley sprigs
  • 1/4 cup Chardonnay


  • Spread butter on one side of each sourdough slice for pan grilling.
  •  In a bowl join together mayonnaise and Bubbies pickles, mix well. Set aside.
  • Clean and pat dry the fish with paper towels. Set aside
  • Heat skillet adding olive oil, hot, but not to hot, as you don’t want olive oil to burn. Season fish
  • Place fish face side down in skillet and braise for a few minutes
  • Add what’s left of the butter, maybe more, to your liking.
  • Braise fish in butter, and olive oil
  • Turn fish over when you see the color changing from pink to white and bits are starting to form
  • Quickly squeeze the juice of Meyer lemon in pan adding the wedged pieces too.
  • Surround fish with lemon wedges.
  • Add wine and boil rapidly – sauce should thicken in a few minutes (if it is not thickening, lift the pan up to a 45 degree angle so the sauce and lemons are the only thing at a rapid boil)
  • With a spoon flatten and squish the lemon slices for ultimate flavor.
  • The sauce will become more like a golden glaze as it cooks and the moisture evaporates from the pan, do not use a lid.
  • Do not turn or overcook fish.
  • You will know fish is done once the interior color is white, not pink.
  • Take a spoon and spoon glaze over the top of the fish a few times and add parsley leaves.
  • Turn off and allow your fish to rest
  • If you are a talented chef you can grill one side of each slice of bread to a golden crisp as the fish is cooking. If not, quickly do this as fish is resting. You are looking for crispy bread, not soggy.  Once slices are grilled, place one side on each plate.
  • Add mayonnaise and pickle combo to each piece
  • Add fish enough to cover slice and lightly spoon a little glaze sauce over fish.
  • Add two clean, dry lettuce leaves and dry tomatoes slices to each sandwich
  • Cover with other slice of grilled bread.
  • Carefully slice sandwiches with a very sharp knife into two pieces.
  • Quickly serve as you want to preserve the texture of the bread.
  • Drink a fine local chardonnay with your fish sandwich and enjoy!