Sunday, July 24, 2011

Grilled Fish Tacos with Chipotle Crema, Salsa Fresca & Guacamole

Come summer, it's time to grill baby grill! And fish tacos just fit the bill, as long as you use the right fish. I've never made fish tacos before, so on our first try, I must say we they came out really delish with one exception: the fish. Most recipes call for red snapper, but snapper is not readily in most of our chain supermarkets. I thought, heck, why not substitute with some other white fish, like, uh, cod? So cod I bought. Everything turned out great - the condiments, and fish seasoning were spot on. But the texture of the fish left something to be desired - basically really dense, chewy, and, well...really dense and chewy. Sigh. Stick with Red Snapper or a flakier fish like Orange Roughy (or maybe even catfish). I would recommend putting the more delicate fish varieties on a disposable grill topper, which is basically a fine mesh, so that the pieces won't fall through the grill. This recipe will probably work with shrimp as well (reduce the salt in the seasoning mix to 1 tsp.  and sprinkle some on the shrimp just before grilling). Que sabrosa!

Chipotle Crema:
2 cups light sour cream
4 tsp. canned chipotle chilies, finely chopped 
1/2 tsp. salt
*Optional: 1 Tbsp. Mayonnaise for a creamier texture

Salsa Fresca (Pico de Gallo):
4 large ripe tomatoes
1/2 small red onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded & finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. salt

3 ripe Haas avocados
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

Fish Seasoning:
2 tbsp. New Mexico Chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. salt

2.5 lbs. of fish filets (Red Snapper is best, but you can also sub with Sea Bass, Catfish, Orange Roughy)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
16 small corn-flour tortillas
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
Lime wedges

1. Prepare Chipotle Crema, Salsa Fresca, Guacamole & Fish Seasoning in separate bowls (basically, just mix all the respective ingredients together).

2. Prepare grill. About 5-10 minutes before grilling, season fish filets on both sides with the fish seasoning. Place on grill and cook until fish is lightly charred & just cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Remove to foil-lined baking sheet, wrap foil around the fish and set aside. Alternatively, if you don't feel up to grilling, you can also pan fry the fish in a little olive oil in a skillet over high heat.

3. In the meantime, wrap tortillas in foil (wrap 8 tortillas in each foil package) and place on the grill (or toaster oven) for 5-6 minutes or until heated through. 

4. Serve the warm tortillas with grilled fish, chipotle crema, salsa, guacamole, shredded lettuce & lime wedges.

Chipotle chilies & light sour cream for the crema.

Chipotle crema.

For the salsa fresca, core & seed the tomatoes, then dice. 

Add cilantro, red onion, garlic, lime juice, salt & pepper.

Stir well. Let marinate at room temperature about 30 minutes. Drain excess liquid from the salsa, cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate until ready to use.

Blend all the guacamole ingredients together (a potato masher works well for this task). Pour into a serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap (press the plastic wrap flush against the top of the guacamole, as this will reduce oxidation and prevent discoloring). Refrigerate until ready to use.

I like this tortilla for fish tacos: it's a blend of white corn & flour.

About 5-10 minutes before grilling, sprinkle both sides of the fish filets generously with the fish seasoning.

Brush both sides of fish with vegetable oil and place on grill.

Heat tortillas (wrapped in foil) on the grill for about 5-6 minutes or until heated through. On the right are fresh peach halves (from our garden), which Gil had marinated in Balsamic Vinegar & brushed with a little oil before grilling. 

The assembly: grilled fish, guacamole, salsa fresca, shredded lettuce, mango salsa (leftover from our jerk shrimp dinner last night), and chipotle crema. 

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