Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fish Tacos with Mango Black Bean Salsa

Hi! First and foremost I want to apologize for being m.i.a. though I find myself apologizing every post! I have been focusing on school & Rosie, which just means that I have an archive full of pictures for the next few weeks being off from school :-). Anyways, I wanted to make some kind of fish tacos after seeing a Bobby Flay version of them on the Food Network on "Cinco de Mayo Week" (obviously he uses every spicy ingredient in the book which I am totally not a fan of). Anyways, I kept pushing it off. This past week in my FN magazine, there was a simple recipe for fish tacos as well (June pg. 100), which seemed blah. Then in talking with my cousin (shout out to Em!), she mentioned that she was going for fish tacos last weekend. There were too many signs to get the ball rolling on my fish tacos so here goes. It was surprisingly extremely easy, and took all of 30 minutes from prep to cleanup (dishes courtesy of Avi).

Any white fish can theoretically work (i.e. cod, flounder, scrod, sole). When I was at the fish counter, I was looking for wild scrod but I didn't think the filets that they had available would work well (they were square in shape and very thick). That's why I chose tilapia, because of their long slender shape, as my plan was to make "fish sticks."

Fish Tacos
-2 tilapia fillets
-1 egg, beaten with a tsp. of water
-Garlic salt
-Canola oil
-Soft flour tortillas
-Thinly sliced romaine lettuce
-Prepared tartar sauce (preferred brand: Trader Joe's)
-Mango Black Bean Salsa (recipe to follow)

-Cut the tilapia into strips (make sure all the pieces are more or less the same size in thickness, to ensure even cooking)
-Make a "dredging station"=
1: cornstarch
2: egg + tsp. water
3: cornmeal, seasoned with garlic salt

-Heat a thin layer of canola oil in a large dark saute pan over medium heat (you don't want to use olive oil for frying as it burns much quicker - recommended frying oils: peanut, safflower, sunflower, canola, vegetable). I prefer to heat the oil before dredging so that by the time I am ready to pan fry the strips, the oil is hot enough. If you're not sure if the oil is hot enough, take a piece of the dredged fish and lightly touch it to the oil, if you hear a light sizzle, then you know it's ready. If not, take it away & wait. You can dredge first and then heat the oil, just make sure you don't overheat the pan- it will BURN your fish.
-Dredge the tilapia strips in the cornstarch (rub off the excess), then the egg, & finally the seasoned cornmeal
-Add immediately to the oil (if you'd rather bake the fish, bake at a high temperature [450] on a rack layered atop a sheet pan for ~10 minutes)
-Fry 3-4 minutes per side until crispy
-Lay in a single layer on a paper towel lined plate

I decided to warm/brown the tortillas over an open (medium-low) flame. I saw Marcella Valladolid do it and she's the queen of tacos so I thought it was cool & I had to try it- just be careful & use tongs. 
(how much do they look like Matzah!? They are regular flour tortillas I promise!)

Mango Black Bean Salsa
-Half a mango, cut into small cubes
-1 peeled kirby cucumber, cut into small cubes
-1/2 cup diced daikon or jicama (delicious & crunchy, radish-like)
-1/2 can black beans, rinsed
-1 avocado, diced
-1.5 tbsp. finely chopped purple onion
-Chopped parsley
-Lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste

-Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, and season to taste.
(Feel free to add jalapenos, chiles, cayenne, or whatever spicy ingredient you enjoy. I can't seem to get my palette around spice, or heat, oh well... however, my version was delicious just the same!)

-To assemble the tacos, spread prepared tartar sauce onto the tortilla (as odd as this sounds, I can't live without Trader Joe's [rather itty bitty] jar of tartar sauce. I should really give them Costco's #- it's that good)
-Place the lettuce in the middle of the tortilla, top with however many pieces of fish you'd like, and then top with the salsa - fold and eat - - - YUMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy belated Cinco De Mayo!!!!!!! ;-)


P.S. if you're short on time, or don't have fresh fish readily available, this is a great way to elevate plain frozen boxed fish sticks (Dr. Praegers- yum!)