Catching Up

Hello Friends! I’ve been a little absent lately with some life changes and planning a quick trip home to Los Angeles for a dear friend’s wedding. I’ve still been cooking, but mostly just trying to run down all the perishables in my fridge. What I’ve made include my favorite clam chowder and super simple seared tofu (recipes to come!) but a few weeks ago I made delicious fish tacos and never got around to posting the recipe.

Fish tacos are one of my favorite warm weather treats. Grilled fish, spicy salsa, rice and beans, and margaritas! The fresh ingredients like limes, cilantro and my dad’s simple guacamole remind me of my childhood, but the grilled fish and rice and beans are my riff on the fish tacos I used to eat at Wahoo's in Pasadena. My “secret” seasoning for the fish is Old Bay. I love it. I also use it as my base for blackened fish and even sprinkle some into clam chowder, too. I usually love to grill the fish on a charcoal grill but I haven’t got it out yet, so I did it in my cast iron grill pan instead.

It does take some time to prep all the necessary components but the tacos themselves are simple enough and a nice way to spend a warm and sunny Sunday. And if you have friends over to help, it makes it worth the while.

Grilled Fish Tacos
Four servings, about two tacos each
1 lb flakey white fish such as haddock
Old bay seasoning
¼ of a small cabbage shredded
8 small corn tortillas
Grilled red salsa, see recipe
Daddy's guacamole, see recipe
Fresh Mexican style cheese such as cotija or queso fresco*
Cilantro and sliced scallions for garnish

Over high heat warm a cast iron grill pan or outdoor grill, season both sides of fish with Old Bay. Oil the pan or grates on the grill and add fish cooking 2-3 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the fish. Place cooked fish on a platter and cover with foil, turn heat down and warm tortillas on the grill. To assemble the tacos place tortillas on a serving plate, add large pieces of fish on top of tortillas and garnish with cabbage, cilantro and scallions. Serve with white rice and beans, and fresh radishes. Set out salsa, guacamole, extra limes and cheese on the side. Enjoy with a margarita or Mexican beer.

Grilled Red Salsa 
This is my basic red salsa recipe that I always use. At the peak of tomato season, I'll blend all of the ingredients together without broiling them for a fresh salsa that is refreshing, quick and just as delicious. 
Five medium sized fresh tomatoes
1 yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 jalapeños (remove seeds for less heat)
Small handful of cilantro
Salt to taste

Remove skins from garlic and onions then halve the tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños. Place the vegetables on a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil and place under the broiler on low until lightly blistered and charred about 10-15 minutes depending on your oven. Let vegetables cool. Blend vegetables with cilantro to taste in a food processor or immersion blender until mostly smooth. Blend in batches if your processor is small and mix in a bowl to finish. Salt to taste and chill.

Daddy's Guacamole
This is really just a riff on my dad's guacamole but his is just as simple, and this is how I prefer it. You are welcome to add in tomatoes, onions, etc for a chunkier and heartier guacamole, if that's what you prefer. 
2 ripe avocados
½ lime
1 clove of fresh garlic, minced
Ground cumin to taste, about two teaspoons
Salt to taste

Halve and pit avocados, scoop out flesh into a bowl, add minced garlic clove, squeeze lime, cumin and salt to taste. Mash with a fork until well mixed, leaving some pieces of avocado for texture.

*Fresh Mexican cheeses can still be hard to find in some areas outside of a large city. So if you can’t find them, a common replacement in Hispanic households is the green can of Kraft parm. It sounds strange, I know. But it’s similar in taste and texture to crumbled cotija and something that I use myself mostly because it’s what my dad always used while I was growing up. I often sprinkle it on top of a tostada spread with guacamole or red salsa, it’s delicious. I promise!

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