Thursday, October 8, 2009

Taco de Pescado

So a fish walks into a bar carrying a pineapple and a tomato...

That was almost the title of this post. After a bit of deliberation, I opted for a more informative title, but thought you'd appreciate the imagery conjured up by the line.

Tonight saw a return to "foods wrapped in tortillas." Despite many years of making burrito variations, I have never made a fish taco. This is odd considering that I have eaten plenty, including several at a taco stand in Monterey, California last Cinco de Mayo. In planning meals for this week, I foresaw a perfect storm of ingredients that would make fish tacos inevitable. I purchased three tilapia fillets in preparation.

As a reward for reading past the first line, here's the punchline: "...and they ended up becoming one of the best meals I've made in a long, long time."

The Method
First, begin by preparing a ham, greens, and potato casserole for dinner tomorrow night. (You'll have to wait for the postprandial post.)

  1. Marinate a few fillets of firm, white fish in lime juice, minced garlic, salt, chili powder, cayenne, black pepper, cumin, and oregano. (Don't leave this too long or you'll have ceviche. I gave it 20 minutes.)
  2. Prepare your taco toppings: grated sharp cheddar, chopped cilantro and green onion, minced onion, diced (real) tomato, and leftover rice (from yesterday's Asian Fish Packets).
  3. Cut fresh pineapple into bite-sized slices.
  4. Heat 1 TB oil over very high heat.
  5. Lay the fillets on the skillet. Sear for 1-3 minutes per side. (I discarded the marinade, but may use it in the next step in the future.)
  6. Remove the fish, and add the pineapple slices.
  7. Saute the pineapple until lightly browned.
  8. Construct your tacos. (Everyone has their favorite strategy.)
The Result

These were amazing! The fish was flaky and flavorful, but not overwhelmed by the seasoning or other ingredients. Fresh is the best way to describe the overall effect. Crisp, clean flavors. I wouldn't have dreamed of adding sour cream, salsa, or even salt and pepper.

Junior Chef #2, skeptic of all things fish, declared the result, "A Winner!" 

We enjoy something of a food democracy here. The unanimous decision is that these could be a weekly dish.

(By the way, these were cheaper to prepare than chicken tacos...although the remaining beer can chicken seems destined now to be transformed into tacos in a day or two. The paper plates reveal that it's Thursday...nearly the end of a long week.)

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Kudya Bwino Bwino (Eating Well) © 2009