Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ole! Mexican Fish Tacos and Lime Peanut Coleslaw

I Love Leftovers.

I am a devout lunch bringer and lover of a hot lunch. Leftovers fit the bill. Granted I can only eat the same thing 3-4 times before I want to throw it out the window, but it's a great way to maximize your time and minimize your expenditure. I only cook 2-3 days a week and I eat every day, every meal - I promise.

Last night Dave came over for his weekly meal at my house so I put him to work (not that he doesn't do all the cooking the rest of the time). Dave mastered the salad (check out the knife skills on the cabbage!) and fixings and I was focused on my one task - breading.

I never experienced a fish taco until a few weeks ago at a infrequent visit to Cactus Club and that fish taco there was fantastic. I wanted to try making it for myself. I know there are many variations of this delicious meal feature unbreaded fish, but I wanted to take inspiration from kickpleat over at Everybody Likes Sandwiches (surprise, surprise) and whip up a batch with a nice spicy panko/cornmeal crust. If nothing else, this Mexican delight and a nice Mexican beer could potentially entice spring to show it's face on a more permanent basis sometime soon.

fish tacos with garlic-cumin yogurt sauce (adapted from ELS)

4 white fish filets (I used cod)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1/2 c panko breadcrumbs
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t chili powder
1/2 t salt
1 T oil

1 small container of fat free plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T cumin

flour or corn tortillas ( I tried corn to avoid the hated gluten, but it was not a good result)

A selection of fixings - cabbage or lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, jalapenos are a good start.

1. Cut the fish into manageable strips. Mix the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, cayenne pepper, chili powder and salt together. Set up a breading station as pictured above. Dip fish into flour, then egg and then dredge in the cornmeal mixture.

2. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large pan and when hot, add the breaded fish. Turn fish over when golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from pan.

3. Prepare sauce by mixing the crushed garlic, yogurt and cumin together.

4. Heat tortillas (in microwave, over a gas flame, or in a pan) until softened and slightly charred. Assemble tacos with the fish and fixings of your choice and drizzle with the garlic sauce & squeeze lime juice over top.

Makes 8 tacos, 2 per person
This was great! The spices worked out really well for the fish and although Dave and I agreed that the corn tortillas killed it, it was overall a success. Worked out well for lunch today too, if not a little messy.

For a delicious side salad I pulled out this great recipe from 101Cookbooks. I made some changes so this is the altered recipe below. I did goof when doing this from memory and made the dressing 1/2 cup oil and 1/4 cup lime juice, not as written below - it turned out fine, but was definitely not the intent of the original author. I can only imagine that her version would have that kick we were looking for in the salad. That being said, the peanuts and lime were a dream combo.

Lime & Peanut Coleslaw Recipe

1 1/2 cups unsalted raw peanuts
1 of a small green cabbage, cored and sliced thin and short (3-4 inches long max)
3 plum tomatoes diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (optional)
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon + fine-grain sea salt

In a skillet or oven (350F) roast the peanuts for 5 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice along the way, until golden and toasted.

Combine the cabbage, tomatoes, jalapeno (opt), and cilantro in a bowl.

In a separate bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, salt. Add to the cabbage mixture and gently stir to combine. Just before serving fold in the peanuts (add them too earl and they lose some of their crunch). Taste and adjust the flavor with more salt if needed.

Serves 6 as a side.----- Even though I goofed on the dressing this turned out great, and it was awesome in lunch today. The great thing about cabbage and oil and acid dressings like this is that they can keep extraordinary well compared to a dressed romaine or red leaf lettuce salad which would wilt horribly over the same time period. I wanted to mention also that Dave had suggested that we could have just put the salad on the tacos as fixings rather than bothering with anything else. What a delicious suggestion.

Great dinner altogether, corn tortillas notwithstanding.

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