Not your same old Lenten fish fry: Try some fish tacos

The Hamilton Spectator - - FOOD - SU­SAN SELASKY

While fish is on the minds and menus of many ob­serv­ing the Lenten sea­son, there are more op­tions than the lo­cal parish fish fry.

Not that church fish fries could ever be con­sid­ered a bad thing, it’s just that there’s an­other fish story to tell.

Fish tacos are an awe­some com­bi­na­tion of fried or grilled fish, crunchy top­pings and a smear of a creamy sauce to cool it all off.

Baja-style Fish Tacos MAKES 6 SERV­INGS

Beer bat­ter 1 cup all-pur­pose flour 1 tea­spoon salt ½ tsp ground black pep­per 1 cup dark beer Cream sauce 1/3 cup may­on­naise 2/3 cup Mex­i­can crema or re­duced-fat sour cream 1 tsp grated lemon zest 2 ta­ble­spoons fresh lemon juice 2 tbsp wa­ter Salt and freshly ground black pep­per Fish tacos Oil, for fry­ing 1 cup all-pur­pose flour 1 tsp salt, plus more for sea­son­ing 2 pounds skinned hal­ibut cut into 5-by-1/2-inch strips Freshly ground black pep­per Corn tor­tillas 2 cups shred­ded cab­bage 1 cup tomatillo salsa (store-bought or home­made) for gar­nish, op­tional Pick­led jalapenos, for gar­nish, op­tional Pick­led red onions, op­tional (see note)

Prepa­ra­tion time: 20 min­utes; to­tal time: 45 min.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and pep­per in a medium bowl. Grad­u­ally add in the beer while whisk­ing. Set aside and let the bat­ter rest for 15 min­utes be­fore us­ing.

To make the cream sauce: In a medium bowl, mix to­gether the may­on­naise and crema. Whisk in the lemon zest, lemon juice and wa­ter. Sea­son, to taste, with salt and pep­per.

For the fish: In large skil­let, over medium heat, add enough oil to reach a depth of 1 inch. Heat the oil un­til a deep-fry ther­mome­ter reg­is­ters 350 de­grees or when the end of a wooden spoon siz­zles when in­serted into the oil.

On a large plate, com­bine the flour and salt. Sea­son the fish pieces all over with salt and pep­per and coat with the flour. Work­ing in batches, dip the fil­lets in the beer bat­ter and coat on both sides. Fry in the hot oil un­til golden brown and cooked through, about five min­utes. Trans­fer to pa­per tow­els to drain.

Make tacos with the tor­tillas and fish and top each with cream, shred­ded cab­bage, tomatillo salsa and pick­led jalapenos, if de­sired.

Cook’s note: To make the pick­led red onions, thinly slice one medium red onion and place in a bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup white wine vine­gar, 2 ta­ble­spoons sugar, 1 cup wa­ter and ½ tea­spoon kosher salt. Re­frig­er­ate one hour or overnight.

Adapted from www.food­net­work.com.

Mahi Mahi Tacos MAKES 6 SERV­INGS

1 medium white onion cut into ½-inch-thick slices 1 pack­age (8 ounces) mini sweet bell pep­pers Cook­ing spray ¾ tea­spoon salt, di­vided ½ tsp freshly ground black pep­per, di­vided 4 mahi mahi fil­lets, about 5 ounces each 8 corn tor­tillas 1 small jalapeno pep­per, thinly sliced 8 lime wedges (op­tional)

Prep time: 20 min­utes; to­tal time: 30 min. Ar­range onion slices and bell pep­pers on plate, brush with some canola oil.

Grill onions on high for six min­utes or un­til grill marks de­velop. Turn and grill on sec­ond side un­til onions are ten­der.

Grill the bell pep­pers, about 10 min­utes, turn­ing oc­ca­sion­ally. Re­move onions and bell pep­pers from grill, and let stand for five min­utes. Slice onion rings in half. Thinly slice bell pep­pers; dis­card stems and seeds. Com­bine onion, bell pep­pers, ¼ tea­spoon salt, and 1/8 tea­spoon black pep­per in a small bowl.

Rub the fish with a lit­tle canola oil and sprin­kle fish evenly with re­main­ing ½ tea­spoon salt and re­main­ing 3/8 tea­spoon black pep­per. Place fish on grill and grill about three to four min­utes on each side.

Warm tor­tillas ac­cord­ing to pack­age di­rec­tions. Di­vide fish, onion mix­ture, and jalapeno slices evenly among tor­tillas.

Adapted from www.cook­ing­light.com.

REGINA H. BOONE PHO­TOS, DETROIT FREE PRESS/TNS

Mahi Mahi Tacos with grilled pep­pers and onions.

Baja-style Fish Tacos with lemon crema and pick­led red onion.

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