The CROW – Swiss Grilled Cheese with Fried Hogfish, Red Onion, and 1000 Island

As a kid growing up on Captiva Island, FL I was surrounded by fresh and delicious seafood all the time… The only problem back then was that I was super allergic to seafood.  Luckily for me, I’ve grown out of my fish allergy (still allergic to shellfish, FML) and have come to LOVE what I’ve been missing for most of my life. So here’s a throwback to my Captivian roots – The CROW, from Timmy’s Nook.  Although I’ve never had the original and Timmy’s Nook closed down years ago, my family insists that this is the closest thing to the CROW they’ve ever been able to make.  And believe me, it’s absolutely mouthwatering!

As inspired by The CROW, here are the delectable ingredients…


– 2 slices of seeded rye bread
– 2 slices of swiss cheese
– a couple red onion slices
– 2 pats of real salted butter
– 1 wedge of lemon
– 1 tbs of thousand island dressing
– 1 small fried hogfish fillet

So before we begin let me tell you about this delicious fish!  Hogfish snapper is my #1 favorite fish to eat of all time.  I seriously love it (look how pretty it is below!).  I love it even more when my mom pan-fries it and makes it for me (and that’s exactly what she did!).  So anyways, we got this fresh fish from my parent’s local seafood dude – John, at Flagler Ave Seafood in New Smyrna Beach.  They cleaned it right on the spot and we took it home, dredged it in some flour and seasoned it with some instant gourmet and pan-fried it in butter for a few minutes on each side.  It’s simple, quick, and to absolutely delectable!

So after you’ve got your fish fried up, go ahead and lay one slice of swiss cheese down onto the seeded rye bread.

Now it’s time for the fishy! oohhhhh ahhhhhhh…

Then you’ll want to lay down some sliced red onions.  Feel free to pile on as many as you like! (warning: the more you add on, the more you need to pay attention to your friends non-verbals. remember no one likes stanky breath)

Now for the last piece of swiss cheese!

Almost done! You’ll finish building the sammie by putting on the top piece of bread.

Now that the sandwich is built, go ahead and melt one pat of butter in your pan on medium heat.  Once the butter is melted and the little bubbles have gone away, place your sammie in and rub it all around to soak up all that buttery goodness.

From here, you’ll want to butter the other side of the GC and let it cook for about a minute or two.  Since the fish was hot already, the cheese melted pretty quickly, so you’ll basically just want to fry the sandwich until it gets all crusty and golden on each side. 

When you see that, flip it and do the same for the other side!  It took me about a 2.5 minutes on each side before I took it out and sliced it. 

When it’s all done, garnish with some lemons and some thousand island dressing for dipping.  I added some coleslaw because let’s get real – gotta have some coleslaw when you eat fried fish!
 It’s also important to note that C.R.O.W. (which is on Sanibel Island right next to my hometown, Captiva) is also one of the nation’s top wildlife rehabilitation centers for native and migratory animals. They do some amazing things for our ecosystem and can’t do it without your help.  If you can spare it, please take a look at their website and see how you can help!   


  1. oh mac what talents you have girl!!! when they made u they broke the mold !!!! think again i can eat this if i cut it and half it with pepe. u are the best [picture writer and yummy cook ever u girl have talent galore~~~~ love ya alina Noval


  2. Hi MacKenzie, I stopped by to visit your blog, say hello and thanks for adding me on FB. Wow! You are a triple threat! You are a born storyteller. Your photos are magazine quality. And the food is fabulous. I was going to ask you to visit my blog but now I have to give a disclaimer. ha ha. I love fish and the Crow looks so delicious. Okay, please stop by my blog if you get a chance. Follow if you'd like. Thanks and you have a great blog


  3. Hogfish snapper. Is that like red snapper? Is it a fishy tasting fish or is it mild like a white fish or halibut. This looks so good. I cannot wait to try it.


  4. Thanks everyone!

    @Fran, hogfish is sort of like red snapper and it's not fishy tasting at all. It's beautifully white, flaky, and fluffy with a mild buttery taste. delish!

    @coutureaholic, I love croquettes too! I'll def start to develop one and try to do a post on it! thanks for the input!


  5. Where do you come up with these incredible creations? Food photography is first rate and makes my mouth salavate. Remember, stay close to your core and keep those grilled sammie's coming!


  6. Great looking sandwich. Hey, I grew up on Sanibel and don't recognize you. Were you in the Scout Troop when Mr. Legel was scoutmaster? Do you know if Johnny Sparks is still around? Lemme know. Thanks.


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