Grilled Fish Tacos

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I’ve talked before about my love of seafood and fish, partly due to being raised near great the great waters of New England.  Lucky for me, I was able to potentially upgrade my access to great fish when I moved to San Diego.  And with El Nino warming up the pacific ocean waters, I’ve been in for a treat this year.  A coworker of mine headed fishing this past weekend, and came into work with a large cooler full of mahi mahi.  I came home with a few beautiful, fresh, filets, and I knew I had to make something simple with it so the fish would shine.

Fun fact – did you know mahi mahi, dorado, and dolphin fish are all different names for the same fish?

This dish is super simple.  I put some adobo and lemon on the fish and grilled it on our grill.  Topped it with a little cabbage, cheese, salsa and guacomole.  Took less than 20 minutes and less than 24 hours from swimming in the ocean to my belly.  Talk about fresh.

grilled fish tacos
(makes 2-3 servings)

2 mahi mahi filets
1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp adobo seasoning
6 small corn tortillas
2 cups cabbage, shredded
2 cups guacamole
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup cheese

Rinse your fish filets in warm water, and pat dry using a paper towel.  Spread adobo seasoning and juice of a half a lemon onto both sides of the fish filets.  Place the fish on a hot grill or pan, and cook on each side for about 3 minutes.  Once both sides are cooked, remove from heat.  Heat up some corn tortillas so they are warm and flexible.  Assemble cheese, fish, cabbage, and guacamole and salsa on each of the tortillas and enjoy!

fish on
– shirley

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baked & breaded tilapia

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I can’t say enough great things about this meal.  This is the quickest filling dish that I have ever cooked.  K and I walked in the apartment this evening, and from the time it took to take these filets out of the shopping bag and onto our plates, just 10 minutes had passed.  And that was with a side of roasted asparagus.  Can you imagine?!

Another great thing about this meal is that it is very versatile.  I tend to favor tilapia because I like the taste and I think the portion size is ideal.  However, I’ve made this [successfully] with scrod and cod as well.  I use Italian-style bread crumbs with the fish, because, well, it’s an easy fix for when I’m lazy.  But I do think it’s the perfect seasoning for this gentle fish.  However, you can definitely use unseasoned bread crumbs and season the fish with salt and pepper however you wish.

Season with bread crumbs.  Add butter.  Pop into the oven for 7 MINUTES.  Dinner is served!

Baked & Breaded Tilapia
(Serves 2-3)

4-5 filets of tilapia, about 1 pound
about 1 cup italian-style bread crumbs
1/4 cup salted butter, diced into small pieces

Preheat oven to 360 F.  Line a baking dish with aluminum foil.

Arrange the filets flat on the baking dish, side by side.  Add a thin layer of bread crumbs evenly on top of all the filets.  Then add the small pieces of butter over the bread crumbs, evenly spacing the butter throughout each filet.

Bake in the oven for 7 minutes and serve immediately.

– food on,
Sharon

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poke

poke

About six months ago, J and I traveled to Hawaii.  While both of us had been there before, we were lucky enough to have some amazing hosts while we were there.  Brandon and his wife Jen are some of the most giving and wonderful people we have had the pleasure of spending time with.  They were amazing hosts.  And not to mention I’m pretty sure I wanted to take their (beyond) cute 2 daughters home with us at the end of the trip.

Between workouts (J was teaching judo in Hawaii and I tagged along), hikes, and laying on the beach, Brandon and Jen showed us a great time and took us to all the local hangouts.  This is just like why I like venturing off the beaten path when we travel – we got to taste some amazing, truly local cuisine and favorites.  One of the things that we ate was poke.  Poke is a japanese dish – raw tuna seasoned with spices, soy sauce, etc. and it tastes amazing.  It’s a great new way to enjoy Japanese food when eating sushi and sashimi gets boring.

While I’ve had Poke before, I returned from the trip missing the amazing flavors of Hawaii and inspired to recreate some myself.  Mission accomplished!  The tuna should be sashimi grade to make sure it’s fresh enough to eat raw.  The best bet for this is either a fish market, or for me, the asian supermarket that has a seafood section I could spend hours wandering through.  I also like to make this the day before to let the flavors marinate together.

Poke
(makes 2 servings)

1 pound sashimi grade tuna
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 green onion, cut into small slices
1/2 tsp grated ginger
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame seeds
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tbs sesame chili oil
3 cups white or brown rice, cooked

Cut tuna into small, 1 inch cubes.  In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients.  Add tuna and mix carefully using a spoon to completely cover the tuna.  Refrigerate overnight. Serve over rice, if desired.

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food on
-Shirley

sausage and seafood jambalaya

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When J and I lived in upstate new york, we used to hit up the Bayou Cafe.  It was It was a local hangout for sure, and we normally would eat lunch there while we were the only people at the restaurant, while a few…errr…colorful folks hung out at the bar.  Our favorite dishes there were the jambalaya and their sweet potato fries.  They were both so good we still talk about them.  So a few weeks ago when we were reminiscing about our sweet old time in Scotia (ha!), I decided that jambalaya tastes too good to not eat more often, and set out on creating the dish on my own.

This is another recipe I like because it’s really versatile and I can make it with the things I have at home.  For proteins, I try to stick with some seafood and sausages.  Trader Joe’s has a frozen seafood mix with scallops, shrimp, and calamari that I love using for this recipe since it’s a one stop shop.  Although, if you have it on hand, any seafood (preferably 2+ kinds) would work.  For the sausage, I use the same idea, I’ve made it with hot or sweet italian sausage or (ideally, since it tasted so great) with andouille sausage.

Sausage and seafood jambalaya
serves 2-3

2 tbs coconut oil
1 jalepano pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, cut to 2-3 inch strips
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp chipotle pepper seasoning
1/2 tsp cumin
2 cups seafood
2-3 andouille sausages
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup chicken stock
3 cups brown rice, cooked

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil).  Add jalepano pepper, garlic and onion and saute until garlic is fragrant.  Add red pepper and saute for an additional 2 minutes.  Slice sausage into 1/2 inch thick slices and add to skillet, along with seafood.  Continue to cook until sausage and seafood are cooked (depending on whether your protein is fresh, cooked, or frozen, you may need to add it earlier or later). Add seasoning, tomato sauce and chicken stock, mix, lower heat to low and bring to a simmer.  Serve over cooked brown rice.

jambalaya

food on
-shirley

sunday funday: fish tacos

fish tacos

A few years ago, J and I took a vacation to Cabo San Lucas.  To say that I love Cabo would be an understatement.  It’s a beautiful town (the very southern town/tip of Baja California), the sights are gorgeous, the water is beautiful, and the locals are incredible hosts.  The city is definitely tourist driven, so J and I quickly ventured outside the main streets to find some more local and authentic spots.  We are always in the hunt for these when we travel because it usually means that the food is more reasonbly priced, tastier, and we’re able to experience the true local culture and flair.

In cabo, I remember two places that were exactly like this.  The first was a taco stand right next to the fishing wharf, and the second was a small restaurant a few blocks from the main street. Both had some great tasting, seafood tacos.  And of course, in both, tacos were about a dollar a pop.  Can’t beat that.

So when we got back from Cabo I knew I had a new mission: Recreate those tacos pescados (fish tacos).  I did some digging around and have been making these ever since. I’ve made them with both tilapia and mahi mahi and it’s really a toss up.  Add a little cheese, cabbage, salsa, guac, sour cream, and a squeeze of lemon juice, and I’m instantly back on the warm, beautiful streets of Cabo.

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Fish tacos
(serves 3)

2 filets of white fish, tilapia or mahi mahi work best
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup your favorite beer, mexican beers work great
3-4 cups vegetable oil
1/4 head cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup cheese
8-10 corn tortillas
favorite garnishes, including guacamole, salsa, and sour cream
a squeeze of lemon

In a bowl, mix together the flour and beer.  The consistency should be like that of pancakes.  I’ve found that I usually end up with a little more liquid than flour to get to the right consistency.  Be patient when mixing because of the foaming of the beer.

Rinse the white fish with a little water and dry on a paper towel.  Add a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon to each side of the fish, and slice into one inch wide segments.

Heat a pan with the oil on medium-high.  Add a little drop of batter into the oil to ensure it is hot enough – the batter should immediately float to the top and sizzle.  Once the oil is hot, place the fish strips into the batter, ensure each piece of fully coated.  Lift out of the batter and allow to drip for a couple seconds, then place into the hot oil.  Cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until browned.

Assemble the tacos by placing one to two pieces of fish, a little cheese, shredded cabbage, and as desired, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream.  Finish with a squeeze of lemon.

food on,
– Shirley

thai coconut curry with mahi mahi and rice

Thai Coconut Curry

This recipe is my favorite for so many reasons.  First, it’s totally my style, a bunch of things put together that come out tasting amazing.  Second, it is a combination of my favorite things right now – a rich coconut flavor and veggies from my CSA share.  And third, J loves it so much that I had to kick him out of the kitchen so we would actually have any left over to eat.  From plates at the dinner table on the couch, that is.

I made this with the vegetables I had at home – carrots, a pepper, a few leaves of rainbow chard, and snap peas.  But any light and bright vegetables will do.  Same for the fish and rice – any white fish works and whatever rice you have on hand. Oh, and trust me on the vanilla coconut milk.  There’s nothing else sweet in the sauce, so it balances out the curry, soy sauce and spicy flavors.  I promise.

Thai Coconut Curry with Tilapia and Rice
(Serves 2-3)

1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 chipotle pepper, minced
2 green onions, thinly cut
1 cup snap peas
1 cup shredded carrots
1 red pepper, cut to thin strips
3-4 leaves rainbow chard, cut to 1 inch strips
1 sliver of lemon
2-3 filets Mahi Mahi
3 cups rice, cooked

Sauce:
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
1 cup vanilla coconut milk
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (this comes out pretty spicy, so tone it down or up as needed)
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon Japanese curry paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of salt & pepper

Heat oven to 350 F.  Place the fish filets in a pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and some lemon juice.  Bake for 10 minutes.

In a large skillet, melt the coconut oil and add the garlic, chipotle pepper and green onion.  Cook on medium until the garlic is fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the rest of the vegetables, along with about ½ cup of water to the pan, and cover. Cook for about 5-10 minutes on low heat to steam the vegetables.

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and add to the vegetables.  Bring everything to a simmer and cook uncovered for approximately 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

Serve the vegetable broth mix and fish over a bed of rice.

– food on,
Shirley