Cinco de Mayo fish tacos for you

Yesterday I felt like I discovered a new world.  I knew I wanted to make fish tacos for Cinco de Mayo and needed to stop at a Mexican grocery store to pick up a few of the ingredients, namely “crema,” which is Mexican sour cream.  (It’s like traditional sour cream except it’s a little thinner and has more salt.)  I popped into a little Mexican mercado I had passed before and in the back of the store which was otherwise like any other small grocery store there was a team of people making fresh corn tortillas and serving up a variety of meats.  It smelled amazing.  You had the option to buy the tortillas and meats by the pound to take away or you could order food to stay and eat in.  Yes please!  So for lunch I had tacos carnitas y barbacoa with a tamarind soda for less than $5.  Gotta love that.  But I digress.

Last week a coworker passed me the following recipe for Baja Fish Tacos saying she thought I might like them, and boy was she right!  Don’t let the length of the recipe intimidate you– it was so simple and fast to prepare.  There are several components: the sour cream, the pico de gallo, the slaw, and of course the fish itself, and you could skip any of the first three, but I don’t recommend it.  The pico is a little spicy, the slaw a little sweet, and the crema the perfect salty cooling balance.  The recipe calls for mahi-mahi but you can use any flakey white fish.  I used tilapia based on my coworker’s suggestion and it was great (and less than half the price of mahi-mahi.)

And make sure to enjoy with a cerveza!

Baja Fish Tacos (adapted slightly from recipe found at www.epicurious.com)

  • 1 pound mahi-mahi, cod, tilapia or other white flakey fish (I used tilapia)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¾ teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt, to taste
  • 8 corn tortillas, 6 inches in diameter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place corn tortillas in aluminum foil and sprinkle with a few drops of water before sealing.  Place wrapped tortillas into oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Combine the oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic, and salt. Coat the fish with the marinade.

Heat skillet over medium-high heat.  Place fish, one fillet at a time in heated skillet.  Cook for 4 minutes on one side and then flip over and cook for 2 minutes more.  Flake fish and place in each tortilla, and top with the Southwestern Slaw and Chipotle Pico de Gallo. Add a dollop of Mexican Crema, fold in half, and serve immediately.  (See below for recipes.)

Southwestern Slaw (from recipe found at www.epicurious.com)

  • 2 cups fine-shredded green cabbage
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced jalapeños
  • 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
  • Salt, to taste

Combine all the ingredients. Allow the mixture to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours before serving.

Chipotle Pico de Gallo (from recipe found at www.epicurious.com)

  • 1 cup medium-dice tomatoes (seeded before dicing)
  • 4 teaspoons minced red onion
  • ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ canned chipotle pepper, minced
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro chiffonade (cut into thin strips)

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. The pico de gallo is ready to use now or it can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Mexican Crema (from recipe found at www.epicurious.com)

  • ½ cup Mexican sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. The cream is ready to use now or it can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

taco tuesday

I love me some lentils.  I don’t think I had ever even eaten lentils until I was in college and discovered that I liked the vegetarian version of my dorm cafeteria’s shepherd’s pie more than the meat version.  Lentils are super hearty and I hear they are good for you too.  Bonus!

 I’ve done a bit of experimenting with brown and red lentils and recently bought some French lentils which are green in color.  I don’t discriminate against lentils based on color.  They’re all equally good in my eyes.

I must admit, the dish I am about to share with you was not prepared by me but rather by a visiting friend and I immediately deemed it blog-worthy so took photos and asked for the recipe.  (Clearly I was so hungry that I rushed the photo-taking part…  Forgive me.)

 My friend made tacos out of lentils.  Tacos!  Who doesn’t like tacos??  The lentil tacos were so full of flavor and so hearty that I definitely didn’t regret the fact that they were meatless.  In fact, I celebrated that they were meatless.  Even though I love things like bacon and a nice roasted chicken I rarely prepare meat at home so I have a decent repertoire of vegetarian main dishes and this recipe will no doubt be added to it.  I suggest you do the same!

Apologies for the sparse posts lately.  I am in the midst of moving and thus not cooking/baking so much these days since all of my stuff is in boxes and my fridge looks like a total bachelor’s with nothing much apart from condiments in it.  But I will be settled into my new place soon and promise to return to more regular posts in the very near future!

Lentil Tacos (recipe found at www.runnersworld.com)

1 cup onions, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup brown lentils, dry (note: I had French and red lentils on hand and used a combination and it worked just fine)
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup water or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons dried black currants or raisins, minced
1 cup salsa, plus additional for topping
8 6-inch corn tortillas
shredded lettuce
chopped tomatoes
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

In a large frying pan over medium heat, sautée onions, celery, and garlic in the olive oil for five minutes or until vegetables are soft. Stir in the lentils, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Cook for one minute. Add the broth and raisins. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender (add more water or broth as needed). Remove the lid and cook an additional 10 minutes (until lentils are thick), stirring often. Fold in the salsa. Wrap the tortillas in a damp white cotton towel and microwave on high for one minute. Spoon the lentil mixture among the tortillas. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese.
Serves four.