What’s in that taco?
40 years ago, even 20 years ago I would not have imagined I would be eating a taco with fish in it. After all, isn’t a taco suppose to be made of greasy flavored hamburger meat that drips down your elbow when you eat it and the shell cracks and spills it’s contents all over the place and you.
I remember when my husband was still in college. We were poor newly weds and we would go out to a taco trailer (and this was way before the ever popular food trucks that you see now) in Rolla, Missouri and buy ground beef tacos for 25¢ each. If I wanted to make tacos I had to buy tortillas in a can (Old El Paso brand) which were just flat corn tortillas. I had this little gizmo that folded the tortilla and I would put it in a pan filled with oil and fry up some shells. Crazy. Back then I could also buy, for $1, a pizza mix (50) and a lb. of hamburger meat (50). Now that was a cheap meal.
These days you can find just about anything in a taco shell from fajita meat, chicken, ground beef, pulled pork, pork belly (had these in Chicago), shrimp and fish. I had my first fish taco at Georges at the Cove in LaJolla, California, a few years ago and ever since then I have copied their recipe and served a creamy jalapeno creme fraiche sauce and mango salsa with my fish tacos. Of course I had to come up with my own recipe but that was easy.
Now, I just can’t decide if I like the healthier version of grilled fish or fried fish. I’ve never tasted anything fried that wasn’t good. I like napa and red cabbage shredded as thin as I can possibly get it with a little cilantro and minced jalapeno and a little fresh ginger thrown in. Now, that’s a good taco!
I had assistance making the batter.
Fish Tacos with Jalapeno Creme Fraiche
1-2 lbs. fresh white fish, cod, talapia, or halibut
Jalapeno Creme Fraiche
red and green cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped for cabbage topping
fresh or pickled ginger, for garnish, optional
fresh chopped jalapeño, for garnish, optional
Mango Salsa (ingredients below
Batter (ingredients below)
Corn tortillas, warmed in oven
Cut your fish into about 1″ strips. (I like to cut the fish in strips so you have more battered surfaces.) Rub some of the spice mix over the fish.
Have your Jalapeno Creme Fraiche*, mango salsa, and your shredded cabbage topping ready before starting to fry your fish.
Prepare you batter and dip your fish strips into the batter a few pieces at a time. Deep fry in 375° oil until brown, crispy and done. Drain.
For the cabbage topping I simply shredded both the red and green cabbages as finely as possible, mix in a little fresh cilantro and if you want a little more heat add in a little chopped fresh jalapeno.
*If you don’t want to make the Jalapeno Creme Fraiche, use sour cream with some fresh chopped jalapeno and a squeeze of lime juice. (see below how to make Creme Fraiche)
2-3 mangos, peeled and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1-2 limes juiced
1-2 chopped jalapeno
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Mix all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve with your tacos.
1 c. flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. beer
Mix all dry ingredients and then add the beer and egg. Whisk until well blended. Dip your fish that has been sprinkled with the rub into batter and fry.
3 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. each chili powder, cumin, oregano, crushed red pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.
Mix all the seasonings and rub some on each side of your fish before putting in batter.
Jalapeno Creme Fraiche
Jalapeno Creme Fraiche — Take 1 cup whipping cream and stir in one tablespoon of buttermilk. Cover loosely with a paper towel or tea towel. Let set 24 hours on your counter. It will become very thick. Before refrigerating it, add in 1 large jalapeno pepper finely chopped and juice of one lime.