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Accessorize Your Fish Fry

Madeira Beach hosted the annual All American Grunt Hunt a week or so ago and along with the normal tournament activities they, as in years past, included a big old fashioned fish fry. As I munched down on some deep fried Grunt filets I got to thinking about just what it was, about a fish fry, that really called to me. It’s the tartar sauce and the coleslaw. Obviously!

Let’s face facts. Unless you are frying up some high value fish (not the standard at fish fries) you are down to the batter and, more to the point, the accessories. Personally, I am a big time fool for a tasty tartar sauce and damned particular (and seriously judgemental) about the coleslaw I eat. So, I am going to put a stake (a jimmyhotjimmy stake…) in the dirt on both of these fish fry accessories right here, right now.



AxleBender Coleslaw

The Slaw

1/2 head: Green Cabbage, Sliced Thin
1/2 Cup: Purple Cabbage, Sliced Thin
1/2: Large Carrot, grated
1: Spring Onion, diced
1 Tsp: Celery Seed

Coleslaw Dressing

2-3 Dried Hot Chilies: Julienned, thin
1/2 Cup + 1Tbsp: Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup: Half & Half
1/4 Cup: Buttermilk
2 Tbsp: White Wine Vinegar
1.5 Tbsp: Lemon Juice, fresh
1/4 Cup: White Sugar
1 Tsp: Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper: To Taste

Putting The Coleslaw Together

The foundation for Axlebender Coleslaw may be found in the pretty well known Kittencal Coleslaw recipe. Kittencal offers a great place to start (I have made & eaten their slaw, straight up, for a number of years) no matter where you’d like to end up. For this recipe I have a couple of substitutions and one notable addition. I sub half & half for milk and white wine vinegar for white vinegar, The addition is the dried chilies. I typically use dried Poinsettia chilies (I grow them and always have some available) but, you may use any hot chile of your choice. I have employed dried Scotch Bonnet and Habanero chilies with success. They take the flavor in a nice direction.

Combine all of the Slaw ingredients in a bowl and set aside.


Combine the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly mixed.


Combine the Slaw and Dressing together in a serving bowl, cover and set in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour prior to serving. 1-2 hours is preferable. The flavors will come together nicely to deliver a coleslaw that has a wicked little kick.

Tenacious Tartar Sauce

1 Cup: Mayonnaise

1 Tbsp: Vidalia Onion, minced

1.5 Tbsp: Bread & Butter Chips, chopped

1 Tbsp: Lemon Juice, fresh

1 Tbsp: Capers,drained & rinsed

1/8 Tsp: Dill Weed

1/4 Tsp: Ground Mustard

Pepper: To Taste

The Tenacious Part

1 Tbsp: Thai Sriracha Sauce (I use Shark Brand)

2 Tbsp: Hot Pickled Jalapeno Rings, chopped


Putting The Tartar Sauce Together

Let’s start things off with a base tartar sauce and add the “tenacious” part as desired later.


Combine all of the Tartar Sauce ingredients except the Sriracha & Jalapenos in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. If you are stopping here (this is a fabulous, not spicy at all tartar sauce) set the mix in the fridge for at least 8 hours. 24 hours is preferred…. if you can. Let those ingredients work themselves together.


Let’s make this Tartar Sauce, Tenacious! I have enough heat in my cabinets and fridge to scorch the palate as much as one might like. This heat punch is on the subdued side to allow the tartar sauce to perform its assigned role without taking everything over.

Add the Thai Sriracha and Jalapenos to the mix. I reference Thai Sriracha. It has a better sweet/sour taste than most others… imho. Use the sauce of your choosing.


The heat punch duo.


When the fish are fried, get the entire mess to the table and dig in.

Let us know if you try these recipes and what you think of them. Input is a blessing…..

Bon Appetit and Tight Lines.

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