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Surfin’ with the Fishes

April 9, 2010

The weather this week made me crave summer food. In the summer I would be happy just eating fresh, crisp fruits and vegetables, along with ice pops and iced coffee. It’s all about balance, right?! On Wednesday it was so warm out in the evening we sat in our kitchen with the back door open, the breeze wafting through while I enjoyed a glass of champagne. I definitely think champagne is an important part of a balanced diet 🙂

With my effort to eat some more omega 3’s, get Z to like fish, and have something cool and crisp on a 70* evening I decided to make fish tacos. We Are Not Martha reminded me how much I adore them and I knew they would be the perfect new recipe to try for the evening.

The first and only time I ever had a fish taco was last April in Australia. I am a huge fan of any tacos (and of all varieties of Mexican food) but the fish part had never really appealed to me. It seemed too light to be smothered with cheese, sour cream, and beans. We were staying in Surfer’s Paradise, along the Gold Coast, and took a half day to drive up to Burleigh Heads to try some surfing. I am terrible at surfing. This was before I knew anything about weight training and my weak arms could not paddle hard enough to catch a wave. It was fun, but exhausting, and at least Z got a few good laughs in. My name was “Drowned Cat” for the rest of the day.

When Z was finally tired enough of laughing at my attempts to catch a wave, we headed to a nearby strip to return our rented board. Z had been to Burleigh Heads before and insisted we stop and get “the best fish tacos ever”. In my head I said “Eh…” but my trip was all about trying new things, so I ordered two of the best sellers at Wahoo’s. Holy yum! They were the lightest and most amazing tacos ever! Local fish topped with a cabbage and corn slaw, you couldn’t get much better. I have ever since lamented about how I do not have my own personal Wahoo’s down the street.

This is my own version of fish tacos, a combination of my Wahoo’s memory and a recipe from Epicurious. Instead of using corn tortillas I gently took off the outer leaves of the cabbage to use as wraps. A healthier alternative, plus a small cabbage produces so much I usually don’t know how to use a whole one up!

Fish Tacos (Adapted from Epicurious)

For the fish:
2 lbs flounder (or your favorite white fish)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

For the slaw:
1/2 small cabbage, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 a small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the sour cream:
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice

For the salsa:
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
1 teaspoon hot sauce

For the tacos:
8 outer cabbage leaves, rinsed
1 serving white rice

Preheat the oven to 375*

Start by making the slaw. In a bowl, toss all of the ingredients together so the cabbage is well coated. Cover and put in the fridge for at least a half hour, while you are making everything else.

Next the fish: Spray an oven safe pan with Pam. In a small bowl, mix together the seasonings with the oil. Using a brush or your hand, gently rub the marinade over both sides of the fish before placing it in the pan. Pour the rest of the marinade over the top and cook for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

For the salsa: Mix together all of the ingredients. Cover and let sit in fridge.

For the sour cream: Mix the lemon juice with the sour cream.

When the fish is done, cut it into bite size pieces and put in a serving bowl.

To build the tacos: In a cabbage leaf, pile all of the ingredients. Serve with a side of rice, or even add the rice to the taco!

The list of ingredients may seem complicated and long, but most of the steps are so simple: just toss everything together! I told Z that this is the first meal I have made where I sat back and thought: this is good. Sure I’ve made “good” meals before, but after waiting an entire year to have an amazing fish taco I think this was a bang up job. I loved using the cabbage instead of a tortilla: the crunch was refreshing, and the leaves hold the ingredients much more like a cup so you can fit more inside! Not too many messy hands by the end. I would definitely make this for a group of friends on a hot summer day, along with some mojitos or margaritas it would make for a great summer cookout.

I’m on my way to Brooklyn tonight to visit some friends. There’s a lot to celebrate!

What is your favorite summertime meal?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2010 9:55 am

    I love those “throw it together” recipes! So easy!!

  2. April 12, 2010 9:39 am

    Good call with the cabbage leaves! I never know how to use up a whole head of cabbage either.

    I enjoy my fish tacos nice and light too – we just do avocado and a fruity salsa (just a bottled one, as I like to consider it a super quick dinner!). I never understand why some places batter the fish – there’s no need whatsoever!

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