©Copyright, Sandra A. Gutierrez, 2016; All Rights Reserved. No part or whole of this photograph may be used, disseminated, or shared without the express written permission of the author.
Every year, I fall into the habit of eating fish on Fridays, for Lent. However, who says that Fish Fridays must end at all? Not, I, for sure! Particularly if I can eat fish wrapped into tacos!
I love the idea of eating fish once a week and frankly, I've never understood people who turn up their noses at the idea of fish dinners. Sure, fried fish can be unhealthy--albeit delicious, so I eat it once a year. And some find fish hard to cook. It really isn't, if you follow my method.
Some folks are scared to buy fish. Here are a couple of pointers: When fish is fresh, it smells like nothing--no, really, it doesn't smell "fishy" at all. If it does, look elsewhere. Your rule of thumb should always be to never buy smelly fish. In fact, ask to smell fish before you buy it--good purveyors won't mind if you do. If it smells like anything but fresh sea water, skip it.
Never, ever, buy fish that is wrapped tightly in plastic (with the exception of smoked fish), where it can't breathe. Not only will you not be able to do the smell test, but chances are that the fish will be damaged by the process.
So on to the tacos. I try to use any firm-fleshed fish to make tacos because it is easy to cube, making it a cinch to portion out onto the tortillas. This time, I used Canadian halibut, but swordfish also works here.
Instead of a marinade, opt for a dry rub, which won't break down the flesh of the fish, which will help it remain toothsome.
Top your tacos with anything refreshing and texturally interesting. I love to add flavored mayonnaise to mine, and crunchy greens (sometimes cabbage, others lettuce, or like I do here, arugula). Finally, top them with a salsa of your choice, but make it at home and stay away from bottled renditions which can be too sweet and watery. My preference is for sour salsas that complement the flavor of the fish.
As to the tortillas... call me a purist, but I like handmade corn tortillas for my tacos. Make them yourself, or purchase them packaged but make sure they're handmade because they are slightly thicker than the regular, flimsy machine-made corn tortillas that break just by looking at them.
Try, as I do, and follow the recommendations of the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch to ensure that you're only eating sustainable fish.
Here is my recipe for my favorite fish tacos! Enjoy!
© Copyright, Sandra A. Gutierrez; 2016. No part of this post or photograph may be used, disseminated, copied, or shared without the express, written permission of the author.
My Fish Tacos with Sriracha Mayo, Avocado Salsa and Arugula
1 pound firm-fleshed fish (such as halibut or swordfish)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup minced red onion
1 large Hass avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup lime or lemon juice
6 red grape tomatoes, finely sliced
1 cup mayonnaise
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon capers, minced
1 tablespoon Sriracha
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
6 (6-inch) handmade corn tortillas
2 cups freshly washed and spun-dried arugula
1.Cube the fish into 1/2-inch pieces and place it into a medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt, ancho chile powder, cumin, and pepper, making sure to coat all of the fish well. Refrigerate the fish for 15 minutes (or for up to 2 hours).
2.In the meantime, make the salsa. In a medium bowl combine the red onion, avocado, lime juice, and tomatoes; stir together well and set aside for up to 15 minutes (cover and refrigerate it if you're making it ahead of time, for up to 2 hours).
3.In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, garlic, capers, and Sriracha; chill until ready to use (keeps for up to 2 days if properly refrigerated).
4. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan set over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the fish for 3-4 minutes, turning the pieces often, until it's cooked through; set aside.
5. Heat the tortillas by directly holding them over a gas flame for 20 seconds per side (or wrap them in damp paper towels and heat them up in the microwave for up to 2 minutes).
6. Place 1/6 of the fish on each tortilla; top with salsa, mayonnaise, and arugula.
7. Serve immediately.
Serves 2 (3 tacos per person).