Sunday, July 22, 2012

Phil's Fish Tacos

I used to think I didn't like fish.  On our honeymoon the husband ordered Salmon at a seaside restaurant.  I told him, "Sorry, but don't expect me cook any of that stuff for you." 

We were married for over 2 years before I finally decided to surprise him by making a salmon dish for dinner one night.  He was pleased, but I was the one surprised.  I loved it.  I eat fish now whenever I get the chance.  Fish is one of those things you have to grow into, like saurkraut. 


There is a local Mexican restaurant that sells the best fish tacos.  They are so fabulous that I never get anything else.  Two freshly made flour tortillas topped with battered and deep fried fish with a plate of red cabbage coleslaw and pickled red onions on the side.  Wonderful...

I decided to try to recreate it at home.  Let me just say, we'll be staying in a bit more these days.  These were surprisingly close to the original.  So much so that the kid even devoured the fish the same way he does at the restaurant. 

If you like fish tacos, give these a try.  Give these a try even if you don't.  Fish is a low fat, high quality protein rich in omega-3 fatty acids which lowers the risk of death from heart disease.  Eating fish has also been linked to lower risks of stroke and mental decline with age.  A definite winner in the protein category.

Phil's Fish Tacos
a Balancing the Table original
serves 6 (easily doubles)

For the pickled red onion:  (this can be done without the spices if you prefer)
1 lb red onions (about 2 med or 1 large), thinly sliced 
1 1/2 cups white vinegar 
1/2 cup sugar 
1/2 tsp cumin seeds 
1/2 tsp oregano 
Dash red pepper flakes 
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt
For the fish:
1 c flour
1 t chili powder
1/4 tsp chipotle pepper (may substitute with 1/8 tsp cayenne)
1 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 lb tilapia (or other white fish), sliced into thin strips
3 tbs. vegetable oil

For the slaw: 
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup Dijon mustard 
1/4 cup honey, or to taste 
1 lemon, juiced 
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste 
1 large red cabbage. Sliced thin

For the tacos:
whole wheat tortillas (homemade is best)

Make the onions:
1.Blanch the onions in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
2. Meanwhile, bring the vinegar, sugar, and spices to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.  Add onions and continue simmering for 3 additional minutes.  Remove from heat.

Make the slaw:
1. Combine all ingredients, except cabbage in a large bowl.  Stir until well combined.  Add cabbage and fold into the dressing until coated.

Make the fish:
1. Combine flour and spices in a gallon sized resealable bag.  Shake to combine.
2. Add fish to bag and shake well to coat fish.  Remove fish from bag, shaking off any excess flour.
3. Heat half the oil in a large skillet.  Add half the fish to hot pan and cook 3-4 minutes on each side until just cooked through.
4. Repeat with remaining fish
*you may need to do the fish in 3 batches instead of 2 depending on the size of your frying pan.  I used a large electric skillet.

Make the tacos:
1. Put a few pieces of fish on each tortilla, top with slaw and pickled onions.
2. Enjoy

What the husband thinks: He likes them.  Said it was a nice way to eat fish.  He didn't  oh and ah over them like I did.

What the kid ate: Lots and lots of fish and some steamed carrots.  That boy loves flavor.

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