Monday, June 1, 2009

In the Kitchen with Esperanza

Today I share with you my version of Baja Fish Tacos. When people come to the West Coast for the first time and they hear "fish" and "tacos" in the same sentence, they get a little worried that if they order one at a restaurant they will get a taco made of cat food. I have served these to countless reluctant Easterners who always want the recipe afterward. They judged before they tasted. Never a good idea:

Esperanza's Grilled Baja Fish Tacos

1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tblsp vinegar
Juice of one lime
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp chili powder
Dash of red pepper flakes

You can use cod or tilapia. This is enough to coat 1 lb of fillets. Let them sit in this for 30 mins before you grill them. It’s good to use a mesh grilling basket because tilapia especially becomes very delicate as it grills and flakes easily. You will lose it all in the grill. You can grill them in foil packages, but then you give up texture and visual appeal. A grilled piece of white fish looks better than one cooked in foil. The fillets will grill quickly. No more then 8 to 9 minutes total cooking time. Yes, it's true that some fish tacos feature fillets that have been battered and fried. Yes, they are yummy. They are also bad for you.

White sauce
½ cup mayo
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup plain yogurt
¼ chopped fresh cilantro
Lime juice
Couple dashes of tobasco
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Serve the grilled fillets in warmed corn tortillas with the white sauce and shredded white cabbage. You simply cannot use lettuce. Cannot. Must be white cabbage. Chopped tomatoes are good on top. Baja fish tacos are never served with grated cheese. So don’t even go there.

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