Have you ever had fish tacos? Does the idea gross you out a bit? It used to gross me out. And now I can’t imagine why. How could I possibly be grossed out by something so impossibly perfect?!
The first fish tacos I ever had were in our fish class at the New School of Cooking. I was easily talked into trying one — they were beer-battered and deep-fried for goodness’ sake! And once I’d bitten into one, I knew I’d be hooked for the rest of my life. The combination of that fish (hot, moist, flaky) against both the lime-y mayonnaise (cool, creamy) and the shredded cabbage (crunchy, fresh)… all within a neat package of a toasty corn tortilla…
My tummy just growled in an extraordinarily impolite fashion.
A product of my mum’s healthy cooking ways, I don’t deep fry anything at home (there’s the mess to clean up and all that oil to dispose of somehow!). So I came up with another way to enjoy fish tacos, amping up the flavour with a cumin-mint-garlic mayo and a smoky coriander-chili fish. It’s so easy, and a lovely way to feed friends: you can have them make the mayo and shred the cabbage, whilst you cook the fish and warm up the tortillas. Then bring the whole lot to the table and eat family style! There’s nothing like eating communally and getting your hands dirty together! (A little cold beer doesn’t hurt either).
I posted this recipe earlier this month, as a doff of the hat to my friend McQueen. It’s so good that I HAD to make it on the show, and so here’s this week’s Aarti Paarti:
Looking for the recipe? It’s here.
A little post-script: be mindful about purchasing your fish. We’re all watching our pennies these days, but in order to eat both the freshest and the healthiest fish (both for you and the environment), you might need to spend a little more. Check out the Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch list; based on careful study of fishing/farming practices and scientific-things-I-don’t-understand like mercury levels, it suggests which fish to avoid, which ones to eat on a limited basis and which ones are good alternatives for that Chilean Sea Bass you just can’t live without. The site offers a Pocket Guide that you can print out and carry with you and I’ve heard that there’s even an iPhone app so you never have to question what to buy!
If you are buying whole fish, check for bright, clear, glassy eyes (not sunken, smoky ones)… bright red or pink gills (not grey ones)… moist shiny skin… wet fins and tails (not dry and shriveled).
Also, when you buy your fish, rather than asking whether the fish is fresh, ask them whether it was been previously frozen — know that if the answer is yes, then the quality of the fish has been compromised. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get sick from that fish, but it won’t taste all that great.