Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fish Tacos and AWESOME Sauce

Happy almost spring!  I'm sure that you are at least as excited about it as I am!

I have been humbled, to say the least, by all of the positive reviews of the corned beef casserole.  It has left me at a bit of a loss, as how do I follow my biggest recipe yet.  That is a huge feat, as generally I have a dozen recipes up my sleeve, ready to go, but not this time.

Well, they are there, but I surely don't want to disappoint all of you corned beef lovers out there.

In fact, I've spent a lot of time contemplating...do I switch gears completely and go with a dessert as to not even attempt to compete with the Irish dish?  Do I go with a pasta salad, gearing up for spring picnics and get togethers?  Or stick with the season and go with fish.  Yep, that's the ticket.

Fish is not a seasonal meal for us, or maybe it is...EVERY season!  We love fish...grilled, baked, broiled, boiled, pan fried, in soups and even raw, for all of you sushi lovers out there.

One of my favorite entrees to order out has become a household staple, fish tacos.  They are easy, light, filling and fresh.  I love all of the textures and favors that can be wrapped up into one lil tortilla for a fabulous meal.

The secret for an amazing fish taco is AWESOME SAUCE!  Creamy, spicy, tangy and cool, the perfect accent to finish the dish.

Before I start the fish, let's get the sauce whipped up so that all of the spices have a chance to come alive, as they absorb moisture.  Other terms for that would be hydrate or meld, but they sound so technical.  I prefer come alive!

So, into my favorite, yellow, old-school, 6-cup, Rubbermaid, handled mixing bowl, I start by combining 1/2 cup sour cream with 1/3 cup mayonnaise and 1 tbsp lemon juice.

Then comes the real fun, especially for someone who used to develop seasonings! I went through my spices and poured a random amount of anything that intrigued me into the palm of my hand.  I generally adjust the amount according to my own personal affinity for a given spice.

For duplication purposes, I'd say nearly 1 tsp each of ground coriander, dill weed, ground oregano, garlic, chili pepper and black pepper.  More like a half teaspoon of cumin and red pepper.  I'm acutely aware of how too much cumin can ruin a dish and if I go too crazy with the red pepper, I'm just giving my kids an excuse for not eating their dinner.

Don't let all those spices intimidate you, for simplicity purposes, you could just use a seasoning blend that you already have in your cupboard.  Some examples might be Old Bay, lemon herb, lemon rosemary or Adobo seasonings.

Whip this all up together and then, add my secret weapon...dill pickle juice to thin the sauce to your preferred consistency.  I went with 3 tbsp of the flavorful nectar, as I really appreciate the tang that it brings to the sauce and I have it in my head that fish tacos are supposed to be messy.  The sauce running down my hand is a sign of a great taco!

The sauce is set a aside to come alive and the fish is prepared.  This time I used Pollock, but not sure I'd recommend that, as it was a little too flaky during the preparation process.  I've used Tilapia on the past and recall it being a bit more user friendly. Really, any fish that suits your fancy or that you have on hand works great in these tacos, especially with the AWESOME sauce!

The thawed fillets were cut into tender-sized pieces for ease of breading, cooking and eating.  The breading was the beloved Shore Lunch, a family favorite for years of shrimp and fish fries.

Just pour a packet into a loaf pan, or something similar sized, but nothing deeper.  The higher the sides the harder to handle.

All I was going for was a quick, single layer in order to provide texture and a little flavor to the fish.

With the pan lightly coated with 3-4 tbsp lemon-infused oil, love using flavored oils for stuff like this, be sure it is nice and HOT before adding the fish.  The high temps keep the breading crisp and deliver a nice color.

Since the fish tenders are small, it only takes a few minutes on each side to achieve the opaque color and flaky texture, which are the key signs of doneness.

Then, transfer to a towel lined plate, to cool or just hang out while the second batch is cooking.

To put all of this deliciousness together, one layer of crispy fish tenders are arranged on a warm corn tortilla.  A small amount of dry coleslaw mix is sprinkle over the fish and the AWESOME sauce is applied as generously as you like.

 Fold 'n' go! They are ready to be devoured.

I can only hope your family enjoys them as much as ours does.


Awesome (Fish Taco)Sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise 
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp each of ground coriander
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
2-3 tbsp dill pickle juice

Mix all of the ingredients together and set aside while preparing fish.

Crispy Fish Tenders
4 fillets of fish of your choice, cut into tenders
1 packet of Shore Lunch (Fish breading/batter mix
4 tbsp of your favorite high temperature oil, garlic or lemon infused is nice

Lightly bread tenders with Shore Lunch and pan fry for 4 minutes on each side until opaque and flaky.

Fish Taco
Corn Tortillas
Pan Fried Fish
Coleslaw Mix
Awesome Sauce

Assemble, according to order listed above, and enjoy!