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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fish Tacos

We have several decent places to get fish tacos within walking distance of us (i.e. Baja Fresh and Lime Fresh Mexican Grill), but I decided to make them at home this weekend. The benefits? Controlling the amount of fat and using the freshest fish possible. The downside? Lots of steps and ingredients. Make these tacos on the weekend or your day off, folks!

Since I was going to the trouble of making homemade tacos, I decided to make these extra special with some grilled sweet corn (the first of the season), fresh cilantro and shredded napa cabbage on the side as fixings. Homemade tortillas would have been awesome, but I will save that challenge for some other time. I chose multi-grain tortillas as I'm not a huge fan of the corn ones.

The finished product was light and refreshing - full of fresh, crisp flavors like lime and cilantro balanced by the sour cream mixed with spicy and smokey chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. We used tilapia fillets - a light and flaky fish that will not overpower the other flavors in the taco. You could also use other white fleshed fish such as Mahi Mahi or Grouper (my favorite!). While this would be a great meal for grilling out, it is also grill-pan friendly for all you apartment dwellers.

First step is to get working on the grilled corn. My parents usually grill the ears in the husk, and then shuck the corn after grilling. I used another method that is a little easier for small stove-top grill pans - first soak the shucked ears of corn in a pot of cold water for about twenty minutes.

Chop up some onion and garlic. Place the ears on squares of aluminum foil, brush with olive oil, and then top with the onion and garlic (and some salt and pepper if you feel like it). Wrap the foil around the corn and twist the ends to secure the foil.

Place on a heated grill-pan and cook on medium-high heat for about twenty minutes, turning occasionally.

Set the corn aside and cool.

Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice (add a little zest if you want your fish to have extra lime flavor), and salt and paper in a small bowl. Pour the marinade over the tilapia fillets and let the fillets rest at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients.

My chipotle cream sauce is just two teaspoons of chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce mixed with 1/2 cup sour cream. You could also use Greek yogurt for the base if you have that on had (just add some reduced-fat mayo for tang).

Grill the fish using your Griddler or a grill pan. It will just take a few minutes per side. Set aside for a few minutes, so the fish can cool. Then, shred the fish with a fork.

Using a sharp knife, take the corn kernels off the cob by standing the cob upright and sliding your knife across it in a horizontal motion.

Chop up a little cabbage or lettuce for extra crunch. Make sure you have some cilantro leaves and lime wedges on the side as well!

If you feel like being extra fancy, warm up the tortillas in the microwave or over on the grill for a few seconds. Build your taco by slathering some chipotle cream on your tortilla, followed by cabbage, fish, corn and cilantro. Serve it up with a lime wedge for an added citrusy tang. Most of us could use more fish in our diet, so try this recipe the next time you have a craving for Mexican food! 

Fish Tacos
Serves 3-4
Adapted from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave

  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 pound white flaky fish fillet (I used tilapia)
  • 2 small ears sweet corn (or 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed)
  • 1/2 white onion (if grilling corn)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped (if grilling corn)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage
  • Lime wedges for serving
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pour over the fish fillets and let marinate for 20 minutes.

Remove the fish from the marinade and grill on a preheated grill or nonstick grill pan over a medium-high heat until cooked thorough, about 3 minutes per side. Set the fish aside on a plate for 5 minutes.

If grilling corn, remove the husk and then soak the ears in cold water for about twenty minutes. Meanwhile, chop onion and garlic. Place one ear on a sheet of aluminum foil and brush with olive oil. Top with half of the garlic and onion and then wrap in the foil, being sure to seal the edges. Repeat with the other ear of corn. Grill for about twenty minutes over medium-high heat, turning occasionally. (NOTE: You can skip this step entirely if you are just using frozen corn kernels).

In a small bowl combine the sour cream and chipotle pepper.

Heat the tortillas on the grill or grill pan for 30 seconds on each side.

Flake the fish with a fork. Top each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of the chipotle cream. Top with fish, cabbage, corn and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

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