Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fish Tacos

Here in Southern California, fish tacos are hugely popular. I went on a binge after discovering them and went to most of the purveyors of fine fish tacos here in San Diego. I found that there are an incredible variety of preparations out there. From the fish, marinade and preparation to the greens, cheese, and tortilla.

My favorite tacos are deep fried fish with a killer white sauce, sharp cheddar and cabbage on flour tortillas.

In the interest of calories, today I'm baking marinated fillets. You can totally pan fry these too. They'll taste better, but have more fat, obviously.

I'm making a homemade white sauce, the sharp cheddar stays and the cabbage is just going to be a bagged coleslaw mix with everything on "carb smart" whole wheat tortillas. I find these to be the perfect size (they're smaller than the "medium" ones) for tacos.

First, let's marinate the fish.

*A note on the fish. If you're a fish snob (which I cannot afford to be) by all means, get the best firm, white, flaky fish you can get your hands on. I just use the cheap dollar 4oz frozen packages. I think they're pretty good for this application, since I'm marinating them anyway.

I'm using 7 of the 4oz bags, so 21oz of fish. (We're healthy eaters of fish around here)

Fish Marinade
Combine, in a gallon ziplock bag:

1/2 cup orange juice
Juice of one lime
3 oz (2 shots) of Tequila (I hate the stuff, but it's really good in marinades)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
a small handful of coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon each of:
chili powder
1/4 teaspoon each of:

Give the bag a shake to combine everything and toss in the fish. Make sure the fish fillets lay as flat as possible or are in contact with the marinade as you can. I suck the air out of the bag with a straw and seal it. It really helps, but can be gross if you're not careful. Also, my fillets were frozen, but I don't think it matters, since they'll thaw in the fridge. If you're in a rush, defrost them first.

Let the fish marinate as long as you can. Even overnight will be fine. I usually do this in the morning and let it sit until dinner.

While that sits, you can prepare the white sauce:

White Sauce

1/4 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
Juice of 1/2 a lime (1 teaspoon) (save the other half for service)
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon chipotle sauce.
*A note on the chipotle. If you get the chipotle in adobo sauce, BEWARE. That sauce is hot. Like, Hot, hot. I use a chipotle taco sauce which is much more mild so that my daughter can eat it. She loves her some sauce.

Combine everything and store it in a container until service. The longer it sits, the better it is, so I also do this in the morning.

When you're ready to eat, grab the fish out of the refrigerator and prepare a sheet pan lined with foil or parchment paper to minimize sticking.

Lay out your fish as evenly as possible and try to get as much marinade off as you can. I also had to pick off a lot of the cilantro.

Now, baking. This is going to vary according to your oven and the type and cut of fish you have. It took me 20 minutes at 350. Be on top of the internal temp (140-145 degrees) for juiciness.

Grab some shredded sharp cheddar cheese, the coleslaw mix, your sauce, hot sauce and tortillas.

You're ready to build!

I like mine:

white sauce
2 fillets broken up
white sauce


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