Fish Tacos

FullSizeRender-1Smoked fish, sweet nectarines, and savory cabbage slaw make an interesting flavor combo in these fish tacos. The first time I saw “fish tacos” on a menu, I thought it sounded disgusting. Fish? In a taco? Was this an SNL fake commercial or something, like Bass-o-matic? But then a soul braver than me ordered them, and offered me a taste. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to re-create great fish tacos at home. And I think I finally nailed it.

Parts of this recipe came from Bobbie Flay, of Food Network fame. But it’s been twisted and tweaked so it no longer resembles the original, and I can safely claim it as my own. You can certainly grill the fish, but we’re Big Green Egg disciples. My husband prefers to use his BGE smoker any time he can, as it does give meat and fish an amazingly complex flavor. But if a Webber (or other gas grill) is what you’ve got, then go for it! No harm done there.

Makes 8-10 tacos

For Cabbage Slaw
1/3 head of green cabbage, sliced thin and then chopped
6 leaves of Napa cabbage, jullienned
2-3 carrots, grated
1 sweet red pepper, diced
½ of a yellow onion, diced
½ cup diced jicama (optional)
½ cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Penzy’s Northwoods seasoning OR 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, plus dash each salt, pepper, thyme, cracked or powdered rosemary, and garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and stir until dressing is incorporated. Set aside or cover and chill until serving tacos.

For Nectarine Salsa
2 ripe nectarines (or peaches)
2 tablespoons minced red onion
Handful or fresh mint leaves, rinsed, and diced

Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate.

For Fish Tacos
8-10 tilapia (or other mild white fish) fillets
Vegetable oil
Lime juice
Seasonings of choice, such as Penzy’s Foxpoint seasoning (dried shallots and salt), Smoked Spanish Paprika—but even just salt and pepper would be fine.

8-10 purchased corn tortillas

Heat grill to high. Combine oil, lime juice, and seasonings in Ziplock bag and let sit for a few minutes. Place fish in an oiled grill basket or brush grill with oil if placing directly on grill. Grill fish until white and no longer translucent. Break into pieces with fork. Add cooked fish to tortillas with cabbage slaw and nectarine salsa.

Curry Cabbage and Vegetable Salad

IMG_0804You won’t have trouble getting anyone to eat their vegetables when this salad is on the table. This sweet and sour slaw is a healthy substitute for traditional cabbage coleslaw, and goes well with grilled burgers, barbecued chicken, or ribs. Or add some cooked chicken right to the salad, and you’ve got a light summer meal in one bowl. I believe I got this recipe from a friend who had called it “Oriental Salad,” and it was a simple mix of mandarin oranges, cabbage, almonds, scallions, and chicken. But my males prefer veggies to fruit in a cabbage or lettuce salad, and my son Justin in particular has imposed the “no fruity-chicken” rule when he’s eating at our house. (That means he abhors the mixing of chicken and fruit in any recipe—no apple chicken crepes, etc.) So I started using the dressing recipe from the Asian salad on a mix of vegetables and a couple kinds of cabbage, and often avoiding the chicken. It’s become a summer staple. Oh, and this also boasts a creative use of ramen noodles, defying the myth that only starving college students eat ramen.

Serves 6-8

For salad

1/3 head of green cabbage OR 1/2 head of Napa cabbage, julienned
1/3 head of purple cabbage, julienned
2-3 carrots, peeled and grated
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 cucumber, sliced and diced
1 cup frozen peas, rinsed in cold water and drained
2-3 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted*
2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted*
Optional: 1-2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken**
1 (3-ounce) bag uncooked ramen noodles, broken up into small pieces (discard flavor packet)

For dressing

1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

In large bowl, combine green or Napa cabbage, purple cabbage (missing from the photo above), carrots, sweet red pepper, cucumbers, peas, and scallions. In jar or salad dressing cruet, combine oil, sugar, vinegar, curry, salt, and pepper. Put lid on jar and shake to mix. Pour dressing over vegetable mixture. At this point, salad can be refrigerated until ready to serve. Just before serving, add toasted almonds and sesame seeds, and stir to combine. Stir in broken up ramen noodles. Serve.

*To toast almonds, spread on baking sheet and place is 325° Fahrenheit oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden. To toast sesame seeds, spread on baking sheet and bake in oven for 5 minutes or just until golden.

**NOTE: A roasted rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is a real time-saver, if you want to add meat to this recipe.