Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fish Tacos with Southwest Slaw, Chipotle Pico de Gallo & Mexican Cream

My favorite part about having to go out to LA for work every once in awhile is the fresh fish. Well, maybe the stocked minibar first, but after that, it’s definitely the fresh fish. Growing up in Indiana we didn’t really do fresh fish, unless we caught it ourselves (which we sometimes did). So to me, LA is a magical wonderland of sushi and tuna tartare and fish tacos. Let me tell you, fish tacos are hard to do right. I’ve gotten some here in RVA that have been pretty bad (I’m looking at you, Cha-Cha’s.) But this recipe I found on Epicurious is truly fantastic. Not sure it can match eating fish tacos on the sandy beaches of LA, but it’s close.

When you’re making this meal, the first thing you want to do is mix up the slaw. I’d say do it 2 to 3 hours before serving so the flavors really sink in.

Southwest Slaw
2 cups fine-shredded green cabbage
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp honey
2 tbsp minced red onion
2 tsp minced jalapeƱos
2 tsp chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste

I use prepackaged slaw mix, which works fine. I also add more lime juice and use a whole jalapeno. Simply mix this all together and stick it in the fridge. Next you can mix up the Mexican Cream, which is really just a limey sour cream.

Mexican Crema
1/2 cup Mexican sour cream
1/2 tsp finely grated lime zest
2 tsp lime juice

Mexican crema is apparently slightly milder than sour cream, but I just use regular sour cream and it’s pretty good. I actually don’t eat the Chipotle Pico because I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes. But Steve eats it and enjoys it, so you may too. We make ours pretty spicy, but you can control that with the amount of chipotle you put in. I do recommend saving the extra chipotle and adobo sauce that’s in the can—there are a lot of recipes you can use it in.

Chipotle Pico de Gallo
1 cup medium-dice tomatoes (seeded before dicing)
4 tsp minced red onion
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 chipotle pepper, minced
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp cilantro

Mix all these up, and you can use them right away or refrigerate. Now, on to the main dish—the fish tacos!

Fish Tacos
2 lb mahi-mahi
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp lime juice
5 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
Salt, to taste

One pound of mahi-mahi was plenty for just the two of us, but if you’re having a larger crowd, two is a good amount. You can also use tilapia, but it’s a little more delicate. Cut the mahi-mahi into small slices (from 2 pounds, it should be around 16 slices). I don’t recommend going too small or it will be hard to turn the fish without it falling apart. Combine all the other ingredients well and coat the fish in it. Make sure you don’t leave the fish in the marinade too long, because the lime juice will make it tough. We cook the fish on the broiler, about two minutes each side until it’s cooked through and flaky. Take the fish out and throw your tortillas right on the oven rack with a watchful eye. It won’t take long to heat them up and make them soft. Then assemble your tacos and enjoy! It’s a nice, light meal that is still filling. If you want to make it even healthier, lose the sour cream (although I think it’s worth the extra calories). This is definitely a recipe I’m going to make whenever I start dreaming about those fish tacos out in LA.

(Click here for printable recipe)

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