Last night, two of my girlfriends came over for dinner. It’s been a long week and I needed some girl time to start out my weekend right! We took Nina on a nice long walk, and I made a Southern California staple: fish tacos.
If you’ve never been to So Cal, the idea of a fish taco might sound…odd (I’ve gotten plenty of dirty looks from East Coasters). Fried fish tacos came to us by way of Baja California (Mexico) where you can buy the delicious little treats from taco stands that line the streets in seaside towns in Baja. They are nothing like your typical beef/chicken tacos, so I encourage you to give them a try. Branch out with your Mexican cuisine!
My version wasn’t exactly authentic. First, I didn’t fry the tacos or the tortillas. I also make a black-bean salsa that we snacked on with blue-corn tortilla chips (I’d forgotten how good those are) while the fish was cooking. As toppings, I served shredded cabbage (traditional with fish tacos), low-fat shredded cheese, and an easy yogurt sauce.
I’m submitting the whole recipe to the BSI contest this week, although you could make the salsa to serve with chips or “American” tacos (you know, ground beef/turkey with taco seasoning…I don’t hate on the classics!). This is also a great Friday meat-free recipe for Lent, right? (Jewish kids obviously don’t do Lent, but I’m looking out for those that do!)
Fish Tacos with Black-Bean Salsa
- I generous handful cilantro
- 1 large jalapeño (or two if you want it spicy; we barely tasted it)
- 1/3 of a large red onion
- 3-4 tomatoes, chopped
- 6 tbsp lime juice, divided
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt (or just regular salt, to taste)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained well
- 1 pound mild fish fillets (I used rock cod; mahi mahi or tilapia would work well too)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6-8 corn tortillas
- 1/4 head of cabbage, shredded
- shredded cheese (optional)
- 1/4 cup Greek or regular plain yogurt (or sour cream)
- Make the salsa: if you have a food processor, add the jalapeño, cilantro, and onion and blend in “pulses” until everything is chopped as finely as you can get it without making juice. Or dice it all by hand. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
- Add the tomato, garlic salt, and about 4 tbsp lime juice to the bowl and stir. (The tomatoes can be chopped as small or large as you like your salsa. I wanted it on the chunky side this time.)
- With a fork or spoon, mash the black beans a little bit (not much) and add to the salsa.
- Let the salsa sit for at least an hour, then taste and add more lime juice or garlic salt if needed.
- Cook the fish: sprinkle about 1 tbsp lime juice, salt and pepper over the fish and let marinate for about ten minutes (not much longer; we’re not making ceviche).
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet (you could also grill the fish). Cook over medium heat until it flakes easily with a fork, about 4-5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish.
- Transfer the fish to a plate and, with a fork, gently break the fish into pieces for easy taco assembly.
- For the tacos: wrap the tortillas in damp paper towels and heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (or warm them in a skillet or in the oven, but my microwave method works really well, trust me.
- Set out the fish, tortillas, cheese, yogurt/sour cream, salsa, and cabbage and let everyone make their own tacos. Serves 4 (I had leftovers).
Close up of the salsa goodness:
My friends took some lovely action shots of me warming up the tortillas:
I’ve never actually made fish tacos before, and they came out really good! And the salsa was great (Mitch’s salsa is still king, but this was a tasty, heartier alternative). So easy and quick to make, too. This would be a great meal for a busy weeknight. You could use pre-shredded cabbage and premade salsa to make it even easier.
What goes with tacos but margaritas, right? Since the awesome people at POM sent me some of their tasty juice to try (that makes me a real food blogger, doesn’t it?!?), I whipped up some pomegranate margaritas for the three of us. I didn’t get the ratios right so the taste was a little off, but the ingredients were tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and POM. I think we all enjoyed this Friday-night treat.
I don’t drink juice very much, but I actually really liked POM (I tasted it plain, pre-margarita). To me it tasted like a cross between unsweetened cranberry juice and grape juice. A little tart but not too much. I actually thought it would be less sweet. I need to pick up some club soda for POM spritzers I’ve been seeing other bloggers enjoying! I also planning on cooking a main-dish meal with POM sometime soon. Thanks, Diana at POM!
I’m off to enjoy this San Diego weather. I woke up so early today (damn dog! She’s lucky I love her) so I figured I might as well get a start on things. Nina is begging me for a nice long jog, so we’re off to do that now!