Saturday, July 25, 2009

Great Summer Dinner

The other night, I made a yummy summer dish. There's a bit of a story to it. (I know, you're thinking that there always is with me. I know. But it's my blog, my recipe. You love me anyway!)

For years, I'd heard about "fish tacos" on the boardwalk. The way my friends described them, they sounded like a big, greasy, salty, yummy mess. But I never got to try one. I'm not really much of a beach girl. And I really do my best to generally avoid fried foods. Well, I try anyway. That's a whole 'nuther post for a 'nuther day . . .

So anyway, about a year and a half ago, The Boss and I were dining out with friends. I saw "Fish Tacos" on the menu and was intrigued. These were decidedly Asian in their twist and not a fryer in sight. I decided I must try them.

Oh. My. Yummy. Goodness.

There were two on my plate, so after I devoured the first one (in the most ladylike fashion possible, because, I was after all on a date in public with my hubby and friends) I dis-assembled the second one and committed the main ingredients and their flavors to memory. (I think my dining companions lost me for a few minutes there!) Shortly after that meal, I caught a re-run of this episode of my favorite television chef grillin' away (mmmm, another celebrity crush to rave about?!) but the ingredients are not ones that I regularly purchase. His version wouldn't be terribly cost-effective for our family's eating habits, I'm afraid.

Tuesday night, I finally got around to the first draft of my version of Asian Fish Tacos. Here is a rough cut of my new recipe. When I'm making something new and getting creative in the kitchen, I usually go through about 3 versions till I get it just right. It's part of my creative process and so far, no one in The Gang has complained. Or died of food poisoning either!

Asian Fish Tacos
4-6 boneless skinless tilapia fillets
1 recipe of Asian Broccoli Slaw (this one is very close to the recipe I used)
1 package of flour tortillas (We prefer the whole wheat ones)
Chinese 5-spice powder (I used this one)
  • Lightly spray a grill-able fish tray with non-stick spray. Layer the fish fillets across the tray.
  • Gently sprinkle the Chinese 5 Spice over the fish to your desired flavor preference. (Mine were quite generously sprinkled, but if this spice is new to you, go easy. Or just do one side of the filet to try it out first.)
  • Allow fillets to cook without flipping for about 6-8 minutes. Gently flip the fillets over and sprinkle that side with the 5 spice if desired.
  • Allow to cook another 6 minutes or so. Fish is done when it flakes easily when touched with a fork. Tilapia in particular will be white through and through.
  • Avoid repeated flipping - it makes the fish fall apart and it gets tough or dry.
  • To serve, cut fillets length-wise and layer them in the middle of the taco.
  • Top with Asian Broccoli Slaw.
  • Fold up bottom of tortilla first then fold up sides to overlapping in the middle.
What I'd do differently the next time:
  • First, I'd marinate the fish in a stronger (more flavorful, not spicy-hot) dressing and then repeat that dressing (or something really close to it) for the slaw. I'm thinking of my soy sauce-based dressing that I use for my Chinese Chicken Cabbage Salad (it's another of The Gang's summer favorites). The Boss mentioned that Ken's Lite Asian Sesame would be a good one to try.
  • Second, I'd eliminate the ramen noodles in the slaw. Instead, I'd add more sunflower seeds and maybe throw in some sesame seeds, too.
  • Third, I will definitely lightly toast the almonds and sunflower seeds (and sesame seeds). I do that for my Chinese Chicken Cabbage Salad and the results are well worth the extra step or two that it takes. Toasting just brings out a richness and depth of flavor that you can't get with "raw" seeds.
  • Finally, I think I will make a double recipe of the slaw so we have some to serve on the side. Maybe then I'd toast up some of the ramen noodles and let the kids use them as a topper to the side salad. There just never seems to be enough broccoli slaw at our table when I make it!
There you have it. The Gang's version of Fish Tacos. Not completely unlike ones you can order in a restaurant like this, but far more cost-effective and more easily adapted to your own family's tastes and preferences. You can thank me later.


Jonni said...

I love me some Bobby Flay too! These tacos sound super-yummy. I have not tried the fish ones but John seems to love them, so i need to give these a whirl. Thanks for the yummy recipe. :)


Salzwedel Family said...

I got everything I needed for this tonight and think I will make them tomorrow. I tried to remember everything you had said I would need and found myself wishing I could call you from the store. Thankfully I got it all right. I look forward to trying these.

Aus said...

I bet Marie and the kids would like that - I'm not a big 'slaw person' - like my garden plain ... feels like you are trying to hide something when you put dressings on it! But maybe a whirl, I do 'do' grilled fish - generally thicker cut fish on the barbie!

hugs - aus and co.

April Isaacs said...

Every time I hear the word fish and tacos used together... I seriously want to hurl! HOWEVER, you have actually made them sound good! I might have to try! Thanks for opening my narrow mind:-)


Gina (Caleeo) said...

Sounds yummy - I have been wanting to make fish tacos for forever!

Dori's Mommy (Diana) said...

Saw a link to this on Gina's site. I have to try these out!