¡Olé, Olé, Olé! (February 21, 2017)
We're in Mexico right now, and eating the foods we crave all the rest of the year; tops is fresh fish tacos, a staple of the Baja, but now available in most of the rest of the country... for good reason. Foodie Vanessa Barrington, whose excellent blog thekitchn.com is a great source for recipes and ideas, gave us her fave recipe for this iconic dish; we've tried a lot of versions at home, but this one is the keeper!
Barrington says, "I always forget how good, healthy, and easy fish tacos are until I make them and vow to do it more often. They're remarkably adaptable to any type of not-too-expensive fish you might find in your local market. You can use any kind of white fish fillet, like sole, snapper, catfish, or tilapia. I prefer saltwater species, but sometimes the freshwater farmed fish are more economical.
The textural contrast between lightly crispy fish, supple corn tortillas, and soft avocado is a big part of this simple recipe's success."
Give it a try! You'll be hooked for sure.
Serves 4 (about 3 tacos each)
For the slaw:
1 small cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
- 1 small carrot, grated
- 2 to 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 to 1 whole jalapeño chile, seeded and minced, optional
1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- Sugar, honey, or agave nectar to taste (optional)*
- Salt and pepper
For the fish:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika or chipotle powder
- 1 to 1½ pounds snapper, sole, tilapia, rockfish, or catfish
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil suitable for high-heat cooking (like safflower or grapeseed)
- 12 corn tortillas
- Torn cilantro leaves
- Sliced avocado
- Lime wedges
To prepare the slaw, place the shredded cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Massage and squeeze the cabbage with your hands to help it release its liquid and begin wilting. Transfer the cabbage to a strainer set over a bowl and set aside to drain for about 15 minutes.
Squeeze the cabbage of its excess liquid, one handful at a time, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the grated carrot, green onions, and jalapeño (if using). Toss to combine. Whisk together the minced garlic, lime juice, and mayonnaise. Taste and add a sweetener, salt, and pepper to taste. Pour over the cabbage mix and toss to combine.
To prepare the fish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a shallow container. Pat the fish dry, then dredge it in the flour mixture.
Heat the oil in a heavy (preferably cast iron) pan over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmery and flows to coat the entire bottom of the pan. Add the fish to the pan – if cooking multiple fillets, arrange them in a single layer with a little space between. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, carefully flipping once with a spatula, until both sides are golden-brown and the fish is opaque and flakes apart easily in the thickest part. Transfer the fish to a clean plate and flake into large chunks.
Meanwhile, heat the corn tortillas, one by one, in a heavy, dry pan, until soft and warm. Wrap them in a clean cloth as you go. (Alternatively, wrap them in a clean dish towel and warm them in the microwave for a few seconds.)
Serve the fish on a platter with the tortillas, slaw, cilantro, avocado, lime, and salsa on the side, letting each diner assemble his or her own tacos.
Tony's wine recommendation:
Tony's wine suggestion: dry Riesling (Kabinett style) or Soave.
We wish to thank www.thekitchn.com for permission to publish this recipe and photograph. For more information and excellent recipes, visit their web site. www.thekitchn.com/recipe-fish-tacos-with-quick-cabbage-slaw-recipes-from-the-kitchn-15838 Text and recipe: Vanessa Barrington. Image credit: Emma Christensen.
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Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.