Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Blackened Fish Tacos (Eat tacos. Drink beer. Love life.)

Not quite how they make them in Baja, but I actually like this better--no fried fish or heavy sauce. Light and delicious!

Note that blackening the fish will create a lot of smoke in your kitchen. If you can't keep a window open to ventilate, you may wish to fry at a lower temperature and not use the oven... or poach the fish in tequila, lime juice and cilantro after a flash fry--both methods are also very delicious.

Prep time: 3 cocktails (including Pico and homemade tortillas)

1 pound catfish, tilapia or other eco-conscious white fish... cheap fish is just fine—you’re just gonna spice the hell out of it
Several large pinches of each of the following: ground cayenne pepper, ground cumin, Cajun seasoning, chili powder, dried oregano, salt, pepper
1/3 bunch of cilantro, minced
A dozen small corn tortillas, store-bought or from scratch (click here for recipe)
1-2 cups cabbage, shredded
1/2 batch Pico de Gallo (click here for recipe)
Finely shredded jack cheese (optional)
3 limes, quartered
Hot sauce—Important: use only Tapatio or Chilula… Tabasco sauce will ruin the tacos, as will other vinegar-based hot sauces.

Preheat oven to 350.

Soak raw fish filets in the canola oil for about 20 minutes, flipping occasionally. Then put fish on a large plate and sprinkle with very generous pinches the dry spices, salt, and pepper. Flip filets and repeat spice application.

Heat a dry frying pan on the highest possible heat. Fry filets for a minute or so on each side. Then place fried filets in a casserole pan or cookie sheet. Sprinkle the cilantro on top and add another bit of salt and pepper.

Bake 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness of filets. You want the fish to cook through, but still be tender and juicy inside.

When done, chop up into chunks that are small enough to make good fish tacos.

If your tortillas aren't warm, heat them up a bit in the microwave (or for more authentic tacos, fry each tortilla in very hot oil for 1-2 seconds on each side). Fill each taco with equal parts fish, pico and cabbage. Give each taco a squeeze of lime, a bit of cheese (if using), and add a few splashes of hot sauce.

Eat tacos. Drink beer. Love life.

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