Fish Tacos

Fish tacos. That just screams San Diego, doesn’t it? It took me 3 years before I had my first fish taco after moving to San Diego. I don’t know what took me so long but I love this stuff. Especially Rubio’s fish tacos. I’ve had grilled fish tacos before but my preference is fried. Wow, there’s a surprise. I also prefer corn tortilla instead of flour tortilla since I think the flavor of the corn goes much better with the ingredients. In an effort to try to eat more fish (something’s got to counterbalance all that pulled pork), I decided to take a stab at making my own fish tacos. The toughest part was trying to find the right sauce. But who would have thunk it only took a few minutes surfing the Web before I found this recipe on The Examiner, which is a take on Rubio’s fish tacos. Gotta love the Internet. The great part is that it also had the white sauce for the fish taco that sounded promising. And so simple. The recipe makes 12 tacos assuming you only put one piece of fish per taco. I just bought 3 fairly sized fillets of cod and cut those into about 4″ strips. The recipe calls for 1.5 oz pieces, I didn’t bother to weigh them. Overall, it made about 10 tacos but could have easily made 12.

I only had purple cabbage on hand so I used that. I used my own pico de gallo recipe, which I’ve included below. Just a note that I usually just eye-ball the ingredients for pico de gallo and adjust amounts as I make it.

Ingredients for fish:

12 pieces (1.5 oz each) of mild tasting fish
12 Corn tortillas
Vegetable oil for deep frying
1 Cup all purpose flour
1 Cup dark beer, I used Guiness
1-2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 Cups of finely shredded cabbage
1 Cup of White Sauce (see below for recipe)
2 or more Limes cut into wedges (I like a lot of lime!)

Ingredients for pico de gallo:

5-6 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 small sweet onion, diced (can use red or yellow onion as well)
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
1-4 Jalapeno or Serrano chilis, finely diced
1-2 tablespoon fresh lime juice (can use lemon juice)
Scant pinch of salt

Ingredients for white sauce:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Instructions:

Combine ingredients for pico de gallo in a bowl. Set this aside in the refrigerator.

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, white pepper and paprika, mixing well. Chill in the refrigerator while preparing the fish.

Combine the flour with the garlic powder and black pepper.  Mix this with the beer and let it sit for a while.  It’s best to let it sit at least an hour. I let mine sit for about an hour.

Rinse the fish in water with a bit of salt or some lime juice then dry it completely. In all honesty, I couldn’t find information on why use the salt or the lime juice but Idid use salt.

In a heavy skillet, heat the vegetable oil to 375 degrees. I added about 2 inches of oil to the skillet, just enough to cover the fish pieces. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can check the oil temperature by dropping a 1″ cube of bread and watching for it to float.  If it takes a while to float it’s not hot enough. Don’t overheat the oil or your batter will burn and the fish won’t cook.

Vigorously whisk the batter before dipping the fish.  This is supposed to help make the batter lighter and crispier.

Dip the fish into the batter and immediately into the hot oil.  Don’t put too many pieces in at once to prevent the oil temperature from dropping too much. Cook until golden brown, turning as necessary. Remove the fish from the oil to drain on paper towels. Depending on the thickness of the fish, this can take anywhere from 5-8 minutes. I cut open one of the largest piece from the first batch after frying for 6 minutes and noticed that the fish was not completely cooked. It was opaque but not white yet, as cod should look when completely cooked through. So back in for another 2 minutes, which did the trick. Finish frying the rest of the fish.

While your frying the fish, begin warming your tortillas. I used a dry hot skillet on medium-high heat to heat each tortilla. I let the tortilla sit in the skillet for about 3-4 seconds on each side and then kept them warm in a covered tortilla warmer. If you don’t have a warmer, cover them with a clean kitchen towel. A hot plate to rest the tortillas on will also help. You can also heat them up in the microwave too. Most tortilla packages will have the instructions on how to heat them up.

Once everything is ready, get ready to assemble! Put 1 or 2 pieces of fish on the tortilla, spoon some white sauce liberally over the fish, add the pico de gallo and shredded cabbage. And don’t forget to squeeze some lime juice on that taco.

These were some pretty darn good tacos. The sauce was very good but didn’t quite taste like a true Rubio’s fish taco. I love how the fish turned out so flaky and the batter was light and didn’t overwhelm the fish. I could have shredded the cabbage a bit finer but no one was complaining. The Mister wants me to try to make some grilled fish tacos next so I’ll have to plan for that one.

Hope everyone is having a good week so far. I’m certainly looking forward to a nice Labor Day weekend.

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