Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Let's Talk Tacos

Ask me about Fish Tacos a few years back and I would have told you that tacos were never designed to be filled with fish. What changed my mind? A family outing to the Narrows at 3380 Shoreline Dr. in Navarre, MN.

Most of my family love the Lobster Tacos at this place and they are really good but since they placed the Fish Tacos in front of me that day, I have been obsessed with them. I’m actually on the hunt to find the best fish taco in Chicago so I’ll let you know who earns the crown.

Half the fun of making fish tacos is to experiment with the ingredients –

Fish: I love Walleye because I’m a Minnesota girl but groper or tilapia is really good. You can also use halibut, sea bass, or striped bass fillets.

Toppings: What is a fish taco without salsa verde? No red sauce on my fish tacos ever! Shredded lettuce, tomato, cheese, avocado, salsa, fresh tomatoes, pineapple, sour cream, refried beans… Use your imagination and let me know what combinations you come up with.

I always grill the fish (in the winter on my indoor grill) and use fresh, homemade flour tortillas but you can also buy them at your supermarket.

Once you have made some of the toppings, you can cook the fish and put these together in under 30 minutes. Again, another great dinner in under 30 minutes.

Here are the recipes for a few delicious toppings. Note that sometimes I will mix low fat mayo with the green salsa verde to put a new twist on a topping.

Pickled Red Onion and Jalapeños

1 red onion (about 12 ounces), halved lengthwise, cut thinly crosswise

5 whole small jalapeños

2 cups seasoned rice vinegar

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt

Place onion and jalapeños in a bowl. Mix vinegar, lime juice, and salt in saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until salt dissolves. Pour over onion and jalapeños. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate.

Baja Cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lime peel

Pinch of salt

Whisk all ingredients in bowl. Cover and refrigerate until using.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

12 ounces tomatillos, husked, stemmed, divided

4 green onions, white and green parts separated

1 jalapeño chile

2 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 1/4 cups (packed) fresh cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 375°F. Oil a roasting pan. Char half of tomatillos, white parts of green onions, and jalapeño directly over gas flame or in a broiler. Move vegetables to the roasting pan. Add remaining tomatillos and garlic cloves. Roast until vegetables are soft, about 10-12 minutes. Cool.

Stem and seed the jalapeño. Place all vegetables, green onion tops, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon lime juice in the blender. You can puree until smooth or leave it a little chunky.

Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and more lime juice if you like.

Bon Appetit!