Saturday, August 30, 2008

the BEST fish tacos

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I recently made the MOST delicious fish tacos. Not that I'm bragging about my culinary skills, because the recipe certainly wouldn't register a high level of difficulty, but the tacos were wildly successful. I've made fish tacos several times, and they're actually one of my favorite things to eat or even order in a Mexican restaurant. The other recipes I've tried were all good, but this one has proved to be the best. It came, of course, from Rachael Ray, in the May issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray. The picture that I've posted is actually from the magazine, as my husband and I were too busy scarfing them down to take our own picture.

The recipe actually calls for using two layers of tortilla for each taco-a corn tortilla hard shell and a flour tortilla. I deviated from this aspect of the recipe, mainly because I don't really love store-bought flour tortillas (I'm from West Texas, the land of sublime Mexican food!) and I LOOOOVE soft corn tortillas. I found the perfectly sized package of corn tortillas at Trader Joe's and used them instead, with only one tortilla per taco. I also used tilapia instead of mahi-mahi, another common practice of mine. Tilapia is a good sturdy fish, with a subtle, non-fishy flavor, that happens to be very reasonably priced!

These tacos are unique because of the addition of jalepeno and red onion-spiked black beans, which act as a spread for the tortilla. They're topped with the nicely flaked fish (I made sure to season my fish well with salt and lime juice) and a red cabbage slaw, a condiment traditionally used for fish tacos. It was the first time that I've made the cabbage slaw for fish tacos, and it made a huge difference to the intense flavor of the dish. I was quite liberal with the hot sauce that goes into the slaw, so the tacos were extra spicy. I also made fresh guacamole, which the recipe didn't call for, but made it all the more delicious!

Making guacamole is one of the most satisfying activities for a cook, especially when the avocados are just right. I mashed two avocados, a finely chopped jalepeno, chunks of two red plum tomatoes, and sliced scallions all together, then squeezed a generous amount of lime juice over the mixture and added salt and pepper. I dolloped the guacamole on top of the fish, and we dove into the tacos.

While they weren't the neatest dish and the added layer of beans caused the tortilla to bend a bit under the weight, the tacos were heavenly. It felt a bit like eating a barbecue dinner so good that you don't care about how much sauce is getting on your face and hands. I definitely plan to stick to this recipe when I make fish tacos again!

Here's the recipe:

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