Mmmm, fish tacos. The idea of fish tacos makes me feel like I have been splashed with cold water. They are so deliciously fresh. When friends of mine came to visit me in Atlanta a few summers ago, we ended up at Elmyr for every meal because the craving for fish tacos was so strong, Taqueria del Sol had a line too long for our piggy tastes. I had never tried to make them myself and out of the blue recipes started popping up left and right telling me that it was time to make them.
I used the recipe from the New York Times Magazine from a few weeks ago, and though it was delicious and the crunchiness of the fried fish was delectable, the smell in my apartment after frying the fish was a little funky. Not sure what it is about this apartment, but it traps smells in a ridiculous way. We’ve also been resisting the air conditioner, despite 80° weather, so with all of the windows open the smells should waft out. To avoid my husband’s complaints about the smell, I may try to grill the fish for the next tacos.
I also made guacamole from my Diana Kennedy cookbook, I’m starting to warm up a bit to it, the warm weather makes Mexican food that much more appealing.
Fish Tacos adapted from the New York Times
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 small sweet onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- 1 jalapeño or serrano, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut crosswise into half moons (optional)
- 2 limes, 1 halved and 1 cut into wedges
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 pound flounder or any firm white-fleshed fish, cut across the grain of the flesh into strips about 1/2 inch wide by 3 inches long
- 12 6-inch fresh flour tortillas
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage or iceberg lettuce
In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro and jalapeño (if using).
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, chili powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons each of kosher salt and black pepper. Pour the milk into another medium bowl, and place the fish into it.
Pour 1/4 cup of the canola oil into a 12-inch frying pan and place over medium-high heat until it shimmers and is about to smoke. Remove the fish pieces from the milk bath and dredge them lightly through the flour mixture, shaking to remove excess. Place some fish pieces in the oil, without crowding them, and cook until deep golden brown on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn carefully and cook for 1 minute more. Remove to a warmed, paper-towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining fish.
Meanwhile, lightly grease a skillet with a drizzle of oil and set over medium heat. Heat the tortillas, one or two at a time, until they are soft and hot. Keep them warm, wrapped in a dish towel.
Fill each tortilla with 3 pieces of fish, browned side up, followed by tomato salsa and a pinch of cabbage. Serve 2 to 3 tacos per person, with lime wedges, sour cream, guacamole and hot sauce on the side.
Serves 4 to 6.
Guacamole adapted from Diana Kennedy’s The Essential Cuisines of Mexico
- 2 tbsp finely chopped white onion (I used fresh vidalias)
- 4 serrano chiles (I only used one, someone isn’t into the heat)
- 3 heaped tbsps roughly chopped cilantro
- salt to taste
- 3 large avocados
- 4 ounces tomatoes, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
- 1 heaped tbsp finely chopped white onion
- 2 heaped tbsp roughly chopped cilantro
Grind together the onion, chiles, and salt to a paste.
Cut the avocados into halves, remove the pits, and squeeze the flesh out of the shells and mash into the chile base to a textured consistency – it should not be smooth. Stir in all but 1 tbsp of the chopped tomatoes, adjust seasoning, and top with the remaining chopped tomatoes, onion, and cilantro.
Serve immediately at room temperature.