Jan 14, 2009

fish tacos

another of my tricks to pretend that new england winter is not even happening.  i serve summery foods. foods that taste really bright and fresh. one of these is fish tacos. we fell in love with the fish tacos we had at tropical taco in hanalei on the beautiful north shore, island of kauai a few years ago. so simple. so wonderful. so memorable. 

we make them a little different, being as we are not in hawaii. but it is really simple, grilled or broiled fish (instead of fried like at tropical taco), something like halibut or chilean sea bass works great, some super finely shredded cabbage dressed with a fresh squeeze of orange or tangerine juice, avocado slices and fresh tomatoes with a sprinkling of sea salt, cilantro and a touch of lime or maybe minced or dried chile. i think it is best to use soft corn tortillas and heat them up by frying them very briefly in a tiny amount of olive oil in teflon skillet, but the great part is that heated flour wrappers work great and even crisp shaped corn taco shells work in a pinch. the key is serving with beans and rice. we use long grain brown rice steamed in chicken stock and black beans cooked twice, once to soften and bring to edibility and then once with onions, garlic and salt. saute the onions and garlic for about 3 minutes, add precooked beans, simmer for another 30 minutes. really creamy and yummy. good on just about everything i think. this is so simple it is almost not a recipe at all. more a divine assemblage. so warm and inviting i dont even remember that it is going down to zero tonite. if you ever do get to tropical taco in hanalei, dont forget to try the taro, it is awesome.

fish tacos
4 servings

1lb white fish like halibut or chilean sea bass filets or your favorite
salt lightly, cut into strips and broil or grill with a bit of olive oil for 3 to 10 minutes depending on how thick a cut you use.

finely shred 1 small green cabbage, regular or savoy both work well
dress with 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange or tangerine juice

slice and seed 1 and a half cups of tomatoes (cherry tomatoes still taste great in winter)
salt and add juice of 1/2 lime and chopped cilantro leaves add minced halapeno or chile sauce/powder to taste, hot paprika works too.

slice 1 avocado

12 tortillas (soft corn are best, white flour or crisp corn will work also)
head according to package directions or in a teflon skillet, flip each until warm (takes 30 seconds or so per side)

serve with long grain brown rice (1 cup rice to 3 cups chicken stock for me, check package directions) and twice cooked beans. canned beans, or beans that you soak and then rinse and boil until tender work well here. i have a hard time finding fresh dried beans (beans that will soften someday if you soak/boil them long enough) so i sometimes use whole foods organic canned black beans. 

assemble plate by plate. add a drizzle of crema on top of your taco (a sort of runny mexican sour cream, i thin some nice organic sour cream with a bit of buttermilk to approximate it).
now, enjoy like you are sitting in the sand, watching the surf in the warm hawaiian sun.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Gretchen,
    I love fish tacos and your recipe looks nice. Tilapia works well too. My favorite Mexican restaurant makes their own corn tortillas, but uses 2 per taco: corn tortillas are smaller and more delicate than flour ones so this is a nice way to "compensate." I hardly ever make my own anymore, but you don't need any oil to warm them: just heat them on both sides in a cast iron skillet (teflon works too) and stack them under a towel. Flip the stack after each one, and they all warm and soften. Cold corn tortillas crack, but once you just warm them they can be folded very nicely.
    Thanks for linking to my blog, too!