It seems fish tacos are everywhere I look. There is a recipe for fish tacos in the newest Susue Fishbein cookbook, Kosher by Design, Teens and 20-Somthings, Cooking for the Next Generation (I can’t find it online, but here is a recipe from the 5 Towns Jewish Times). I am also reading Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook (or here) and Amanda Hesser’s The Essential New York Times Cookbook (Sam Sifton’s recipe)–and there are fish tacos recipes in both of those books, too. I bought a box of whole grain taco shells, and there is recipe for fish tacos on the box!
So, anyway, my sister told me she made a fantastic paella recipe that came, from all places, from People Magazine. I couldn’t find the paella recipe, but my search for it turned up . . . . wait for it . . . a fish taco recipe!! A fish taco recipe from Zach Braff, who doesn’t cook, but is an investor in a restaurant that serves seafood.
So, technically, the recipe for fish tacos is from Mermaid Oyster Bar. Basically, it is seared tilapia with coleslaw and salsa, served in a warm tortilla.
I changed things around to suit myself, adding guacamole and toning down the spiciness, plus a few other tweaks to suit my family.
The results were great, and the fish is well worth making even if it doesn’t end up going inside a taco shell.
Adapted from Mermaid Oyster Bar
Cut each fish fillet into 4 pieces (cut lengthwise and crosswise to make 1″ wide, 3″ long strips):
1½ lbs. tilapia fillets (about 6 fillets)
Place the fish (you should have 24 strips of fish) in a 13″x9″ glass or ceramic dish and cover with the following marinade (add in order listed):
juice one lime
1/4 cup chopped red onion (I used a large shallot)
1 Tbl. minced garlic
1 jalapeno, minced (I made sure to discard all the seeds and remove the white membrane from the inside, where most of the heat is)
Ancho chile powder (I used just a pinch and then used enough paprika to thoroughly cover both sides of the fish; I also added some salt and pepper)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (I skipped this because, while I love cilantro, the rest of my family does not)
olive oil (the recipe calls for a whole cup; I used enough to cover the fish with a thin coating of oil)
Cover the fish and marinate in the refrigerator 8-24 hours (I marinated for less time, maybe just a couple of hours).
Heat a frying pan until it is really, really hot and sear the fish pieces on each side until browned (or blackened even) on each side. I left out the little bits and pieces of vegetables, and then, when all the fish was seared, I added in the marinade with the vegetables and cooked them until tender and poured it over the fish.
Meanwhile, while your fish is searing, you should be warming up your tortillas in the oven at 350 degrees:
12 (6-in.) flour tortillas (I used whole grain corn taco shells, warmed at 250 degrees until warm)
Place the tilapia on the tortillas/taco shells, and top with coleslaw and salsa:
1 lb. coleslaw
2 cups pico de gallo salsa (I used Spike’s corn and black bean salsa)
(I also added some guacamole)
Note: this was delicious, although I am thinking that some fresh tomatoes, tossed with lime juice (and cilantro, if my family isn’t eating it) would really be a nice addition.