Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Go-To Dinners: Fish Tacos (Part 3 of 5)

I clearly remember the first time I ever heard of putting fish in a taco.  Discovering this dish was one bright spot on an otherwise torturesome trip to Finland.  (Five girls, one car, two tents, one thousand miles, and three million mosquito bites)  We planned to camp on the night of the Summer Solstice, and we were looking for something to cook for dinner at a market in Helsinki.  The idea of fish tacos came up, and I was sort of horrified.  We ate a lot of tacos growing up, but the standard fare was ground beef.  My friend Lisa cooked fish tacos that were very non-horrific; in fact, they were heavenly. Thus, my love affair with this dish was born. 

My recipe includes a spate of my favorite spice (cumin) and my favorite herb (cilantro).  It requires quite a bit of prep, but once you get the fish going, it's a quick and very easy meal.

Fish Tacos

The Coleslaw:
2 T light mayo
Squeeze of 1/2 lime
1 T vinegar
pinch of sugar, salt, and cumin
pre-shredded cabbage, about 1.5 cups
1 green onion, chopped
1 T cilantro, chopped

Mix everything except the cabbage, green onion, and cilantro in a medium-sized bowl.  Add in the cabbage and herbs and mix well.  This will give a pretty light coat on the cabbage, but know that you should make it a day (or a couple hours) before hand, and as the cabbage breaks down, it will get juicier.  But if you like your coleslaw really saturated, add more mayo and lime/vinegar, and if you like it lighter, add more coleslaw.

The Pico: 
1/4 jalapeno, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T cilantro, chopped
2 T onion, chopped
squeeze of 1/2 lime

Mix all the ingredients together and taste.  It should taste like freshness in a spoon.  Not so much? Add more lime juice and/or salt.

The Fish: 
I use any white fish I have on hand, tilapia, cod, halibut.  While I prefer the meatiness of cod or halibut, my wallet prefers tilapia, so I went with that most recently.

2 filets tilapia
olive oil (I've been using the spray variety.)
squeeze of 1/2 lime

Pat the filets dry and season with salt, pepper, and cumin.  Squeeze about 1/4 of the lime over the top. Heat a skillet on medium, and spray a few spritzes of olive oil.  Once the pan is hot, add the fish and cook about 3 minute minutes or until it's toasty brown.  Turn the fish, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Once the fish flakes easily and is opaque in the center, it's finished.  Remove it from the heat, and squeeze the rest of the lime juice atop.

The Assembly: 
4 corn tortillas
pico de gallo
fish fillets
sour cream
queso fresco (or feta)
lime and cilantro for garnish

Heat the corn tortillas in a dry skillet to warm.  Once they are pliable, pile on the 1/2 of a fish filet, hefty scoops of coleslaw and pico, a few slices of avocado, a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of cheese.  Garnish with some chopped cilantro and another squeeze of lime juice. Enjoy!

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