Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fresh Fish Tacos (made at home)

Inspired by the trend of tasty tacos at some of our favorite restaurants, I decided to try my hand at making them at home. We're having a beef-free week - after documenting our meals we realized that we were eating red meat a little too frequently. The hot item in the food world right now is fish tacos. The dish incorporates a few of our favorite ingredients: avocados, cilantro, lime, and fresh fish. I opted for a pan friend (not breaded and fried) version to keep it on the lighter side.

We are also trying to stick to a stricter budget for food, so the fish choice was based on the lowest price at the store that day - cod fillet. For the two of us (no leftovers) we got 1/2 pound of cod fillet (on the thick side). I decided to wing it and make up my own recipe instead of looking one up.

This was great with the cod - the hubby decided that the recipe would be tasty with salmon or mahi mahi (and fresh tuna if it ever went on sale). For the wrapper we used a small corn tortilla that had more flavor and was easier to manage than a giant burrito sized flour tortilla. Topping included a quick pickled cabbage, diced avocado, fresh tomato salsa, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.

This was a quick meal. While the fish was marinating I chopped veggies for the salsa and the black beans. The beans were started, salsa and avocado prepared, and then all that was left was cooking the fish and warming up the tortillas. I only wish that we had some margaritas to enjoy with the meal...there's always next time.

Here are some photos and recipes. I didn't write down measurements as I cooked, this is my guess at what I did!

Fresh Fish Tacos
1/2 pound fresh cod fillet, cut into 2 inch cubes
About 1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
2 dashes of green Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper (just a sprinkle of each)

Put half the olive oil into a bowl with the smashed garlic clove and jalapeno
Put the cut fish into the bowl
Sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, Tabasco, and salt and pepper
Put in the refrigerator for 10 minutes (or as long as you need to prep the other components)

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat (on a 1-10 dial, I used 5)
Remove fish from the marinade and put into the skillet
Cook for 4 minutes on the first side
Flip, and cook for 2 minutes on the other side
When the fish is cooked through, use a fork to break up the big pieces (it will flake along the grain)

Serve with warmed corn tortillas and the following toppings

Quick 'pickled' Slaw
I cheated and used a prepared coleslaw mix (cabbage and carrots). Use only enough for this meal. The idea is to get a nice tangy slaw to play off the salsa and avocado flavors. You could try any vinegar you have (in the next post on turkey tacos, I used red wine vinegar)

Coleslaw mix (or chopped green cabbage)
About 3-4 tablespoons or so of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Toss cabbage well with the oil and vinegar
Season with salt and pepper
Keep in the refrigerator until just before serving

Tomato Salsa
2 plum or roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/4 of a white onion, diced
A small handful of chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

Mix well and chill

Black Beans and Red Pepper

1 can black beans, drained
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1/4 onion, diced
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a small pot over medium heat
Add in red pepper, garlic, jalapeno, and onion
Cook for about 5 minutes, until just softened (don't burn the garlic!)
Add in beans
Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer
Simmer until the rest of the meal is ready

Other Toppings
Diced avocado (squeeze lime juice over it)
Lime wedges for a squeeze over the whole taco
Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish

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