This Cod Reuben Sandwich is a fishy take on a classic deli-style Reuben! It’s piled high with seared cod, sauerkraut, and a homemade yogurt-based Russian dressing.
Growing up, I didn’t spend much time eating Reuben sandwiches.
What I did eat, on a somewhat regular basis, is the Reuben’s ever so slightly lighter cousin, the Rachel.
Just like a Reuben, the Rachel is made up of rye bread, Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese all grilled in sweet, sweet butter. Unlike the Reuben, the Rachel has turkey instead of corned beef.
And this fishy version of the Reuben uses COD instead of corned beef. Maybe we’ll call it a Rod.
How did I get the idea for a seafood Reuben?
I was in Florida for the bestie’s wedding, and the restaurant menus were full of seafood sandwiches.
But in Florida, I saw the most exciting seafood sandwich ever. I saw– not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES– grouper Reubens on restaurant menus.
I shrieked with delight! But then the sandwiches came.
They were good– but they were definitely not Reubens!
There was no rye bread, there was cole slaw instead of sauerkraut, and there was no Swiss cheese. But these faux-Reubens gave me an idea.
I came home, and started brainstorming.
Best Fish for Seafood Reubens
Yes, grouper is fabulous on sandwiches, but it’s not always easy to find. If you can find some, try making my version of a grouper Reuben.
Which type of fish would be thick and delicious, so that the sandwich would have a similar texture and look to a classic Reuben?
Which type of fish would go well with the flavors in the classic– the rye bread, sauerkraut, and spicy Russian dressing?
The answer to this fish sandwich seemed clear, cod.
If you’ve got extra cod in your fridge or freezer, check out these recipes too: broiled cod with lemon sauce, spiced cod with sweet potato mash, pumpkin cod curry, and pan-seared cod with bourbon sauce.
What Can I Use Instead of Cod?
If you prefer, you can swap the cod for another dense and meaty white fish.
Can I Skip the Cheese on a Cod Reuben?
Yes– if you want to.
But it’s really delicious with the cheese!
Should I Use Sauerkraut or Cole Slaw?
I tried versions with cole slaw instead of sauerkraut, just in case all those Florida cafes were onto something– they weren’t.
Use sauerkraut! I like to use homemade sauerkraut (but store-bought works too!).
It’s delicious with the cod.
Can I Use Pre-Made Dressing?
This recipe includes a quick and easy, healthy yogurt-based Russian dressing.
But if you’re in a hurry, a pre-made Russian dressing (if you can find one!), or a Thousand Island will work just fine.
Russian dressing is spicier than Thousand Island.
How to Make a Cod Reuben Sandwich
To make a Cod Reuben Sandwich, make the dressing first.
You could even make the dressing the day before!
Next, sear the cod, and then assemble your sandwiches.
Add the rye bread, and layer it with sauerkraut, as much of the dressing as you want, the cheese (if you’re using it), and of course– the cod. If your cod isn’t the same size as the bread, you can flake it apart a little and spread it out.
Need more help? Check out this tutorial on How to Pan-Sear Fish.
Next, add a little more butter to the pan, and quickly grill each side of the sandwich.
Grab some napkins and eat your Cod Reuben Sandwich while it’s still hot! Then, sigh happily after enjoying your giant deli sandwich!
Russian Yogurt Sauce:
- ½ cup whole milk plain yogurt
- 2 green onions, diced
- ⅛ cup diced red onion
- 1 TB relish (dill or sweet)
- 1 TB horseradish root, freshly grated (or sub prepared)
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp paprika or smoked paprika
- 2 cod fillets (~4oz each)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 TB butter
- 4 slices rye bread Jewish rye preferred
- ½ cup sauerkraut
- 2 slices Swiss cheese (optional), add more if desired
- 1 TB butter
- Combine all ingredients for Russian dressing. Taste dressing, add more salt if it tastes bland, and/or more horseradish if you prefer it spicier. Set aside.
- Add oil to a heavy pan, such as cast iron, and heat on medium-high heat. Pat cod dry, and then dry it off again. Wet fish will stick to the pan.
- Set cod in hot pan, and DO NOT TOUCH IT. Set a timer for 4 minutes, and don’t touch the cod until the timer goes off. (If your butter smokes a little, lower the heat slightly.)
- Next, use a thin metal spatula to flip the cod. If it sticks to the pan, wait another 30 seconds. The fish will release when it’s done cooking. Cook for another 4 minutes, and remove from pan.
- Lower the heat to medium.
- Prepare sandwiches by layering one slice of bread, a thick layer of the Russian sauce, sauerkraut, the cod, cheese, and another piece of bread. If the cod is too small for the bread, you can flake it apart with a fork and spread it across the bread.
- Add remaining butter to the pan, and grill sandwiches about 2 minutes per side, until each side is golden and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.