Mexican food always means a party. There’s a time and place for (Italian) comfort food when I’m looking for a pick-me-up, and then there’s time for fish tacos and margaritas. I love these because they’re not so heavy, and I can make them quickly and concentrate on spending time with friends. Plus, when margaritas are involved, it’s best not to wait too long to eat….
2 fillets of white, firm fish, like tilapia
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
4-6 tortillas, warmed in a pan or oven for a few minutes
1-2 cups shredded napa cabbage
3 tablespoons cider vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 limes, juiced
1 poblano pepper, broiled quickly to blister the skin (put in paper bag to help remove the skin)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, roasted under the same broiler until the skins start to burst
1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce
1 garlic clove, roasted with the tomatoes
cilantro or parsley
For the hot sauce, combine the pepper, tomatoes, garlic, and hot sauce in a blender with some salt and pepper to taste. Add half the lime juice and a handful of cilantro or parsley and blend again.
For the cabbage slaw, combine the cabbage, vinegar, half the lime juice and salt and pepper. This is best done ahead of time because it gives the flavors a chance to combine, but it will still be good if you make it at the same time.
Combine the flour, paprika, chili powder and some salt in a plate. Dredge the fish lightly and put directly into a couple tablespoons of oil in a pan. Allow it to brown on one side and then flip. I like to use non-stick for fish but if it sticks a little, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll be breaking up the fillets anyway.
Layer some fish, hot sauce and cabbage slaw onto a tortilla. Serve with some beans and rice and maybe a couple wedges of lime for squeezing at the table.
For my rice, I like to cook it according to package instructions but use half the amount of water and replace the rest with chicken stock. I add a bay leaf or two and a pinch of saffron. Sometimes I add a little ground cumin too. Not too much to make it really strong, just a gentle flavor.
For my beans, I generally use canned because they’re so handy, but I rinse them REALLY well. You don’t want any of that viscose liquid they come in, it’s full of sodium and it tastes weird. I saute up some bacon with some brown sugar and then toss in the beans. Add some water if it’s too thick and allow it cook together for 10 minutes.