Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quick and Easy Fish Tacos

My girlfriend was visiting her family over the weekend and they sent her back with a bag of some great looking jalapenos so we were talking about what to cook for dinner last night and settled on fish tacos.  This is something I've done a few times before, but I think I got it right last night.  So here's my recipe for fish tacos:
Fish Tacos & Lime-Cilantro Rice

Fish Tacos
.75lbs - fresh tilapia
2 - vine ripened tomatoes
1/2 - white onion
1/4 head - red cabbage
2 - small jalapenos
1 - avocado
1/2 - lime
1 cup - cornmeal
1/8 to 1/4 cup - cilantro
Olive oil

Lime-Cilantro Rice
1/2 cup rice
1/2 lime
1/8 cup cilantro

I made the rice first because I knew it could sit.  Make the rice to the instructions on the package, and then just as I took it off the heat I added the juice of the half lime and threw in the 1/8-ish cup of cilantro, stirred, and then set aside.

The next step, and to be sure the most time intensive, was dicing up all the vegetables.  I did a small dice on the tomatoes, onion, and jalapenos.  Next I did a thin chop of the red cabbage and put all the different elements into different little bowls.
All diced and nowhere to go

After all the dicing and chopping I took the tilapia and put a little sea salt and pepper on both sides.  Then I split the tilapia at the middle seam turning three tilapia filets into six strips.  I poured the cup of cornmeal into a reusable Chinese food container and dredged the tilapia in the cornmeal until it had a nice coating but wasn't caked in cornmeal.  I put some olive oil in a frying pan and let it heat to almost smoking and then put three of the six pieces in the pan.  They only took about 2 minutes per side and then I repeated with the remaining fish.
Avocado, tilapia, and rice.

My girlfriend cut up the avocado and we plated up and enjoyed.  The rice turned out okay.  I think I put in too much cilantro (and thus would say 1/8 cup versus a 1/4 cup) or maybe not enough lime.  Obviously the rice is a rip off of Chipotle's rice, but that didn't make it a poor option.  The fish came out exactly the way I wanted in no small part because it was fresh.  Frozen tilapia would have crumbled or I would have been inclined to heat the hell out of it because it was frozen.

I will tell you this secret for great fish tacos.  It's all about dredging, whether it's corn meal or flour, a very light coating to the fish takes care of excess moisture and gives it just a slight crispiness.  Without it, the fish can be mushy.  With a full on breading you lose the fish in breading and oil.  Start to finish, less then 90 minutes and cost around $25 for two people.
I went back for seconds.
Just one more picture for good measure.  I put a little Nali sauce on this one to give it an extra kick.  Happy cooking and remember, anybody can make this.

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