Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fish Tacos (From Dad)

Beth and I both have been lagging on posting on Vo2 Maxed. Needless to say life has been busy. Luckily my Dad kills it in the kitchen and has provided us with another entry. Last time it was Pollo Asado Tacos and this time it's Fish Tacos... and no my dad is not of Mexican descent. The Walsh family just loves our Mexican food (and beer)!

Fish Tacos by Jim Walsh. Here is a recipe for fish tacos with all the trimmings.

My fish taco. Carb Smart tortilla. (notice the paper plate... keep it real dad. jw)

Fish tacos differ greatly from location to location. My philosophy of fish tacos is:
1. Always but the freshest fish available. Any "white" fleshed fish will do, as long as it is of a "heavy" consistency. (Cod is usually used, but grouper, tilapia, ahi tuna, mahi mahi, or in this case wahoo are also good choices. Freshness in more important than the variety.)
2. The fish MUST unadulterated and be grilled. (Breaded fish in tacos may as well be made with packaged, frozen fish sticks.)
3. The fish MUST not be seasoned prior to grilling. Just a brush of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to keep it from sticking.
4. After fish is grilled, while still hot, flake and season. (See Recipe)
5. The true test/taste of the fish taco is in the garnish and condiments. Therefore, these must be to your taste.
6. Fresh homemade garnish / condiments are always the best.
7. Flavors must be layered, like the filling. There is a delicate balance between sweet and savory. It is very easy to overpower the flavor of the fish.
8. A fish taco is not a fish taco without a Baja Sauce. (See Recipes) Try all four and pick your favorite. These are ours.
With these guidelines in place, my recipe for the "Best" Fish Tacos follows.

Four pieces of Wahoo, approx. 1 inch thick, ready for the grill.

Grilled and ready to flake.

Ready to serve.

Shredded cabbage, grated cheese (cheddar or "Mexican" blend), and guacamole(definitely). Diced tomatoes, sour cream and diced Spanish onion (if you must).

Fish Filling

Approx. 2 lbs. of fresh fish, Wahoo in this case
2 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, very finely chopped.
1/2 tsp. Obie Cue or other brand Fajita Seasoning (Available from www.obiecue.com , best I've found. Also, try their Texas Soul. Great Mexican seasoning)
1/2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Brush fish with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and grill until desired doneness, (Fish must be grilled to the point that it will flake easily).
Remove fish from the grill and flake while still hot and keep warm. The method I use is to heat a cast iron skillet in the oven to about 250 degrees and place flaked fish in the skillet to keep warm. Once all fish is flaked, very sparingly, season with the Fajita Seasoning and Cilantro. You don't have to use all the spice and cilantro. This should be just a "touch" of seasoning, and has to be applied while the fish is warm. Just a hint if seasoning.

Serve Immediately.

Mango Salsa

1 Cup of fresh Mango, diced small
1/3 cup roasted Red Peppers (The "canned" variety are used here, sweeter than home roasted)
1/3 Cup Red Onion, diced small
1 Jalapeño pepper, seeded, deveined and minced
1 Tbsp. fresh Mint, chopped (If you can't find fresh mint, dried mint leaves can be substituted, 1/4 the amount of fresh)
1 Tbsp. fresh Lime juice

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until needed.

Clockwise from the top: Green Baja Sauce, Pink/Red Baja Sauce, Chipotle Baja sauce, Amargo Baja Sauce.

Green Baja Sauce
This Baja Sauce is like a thin mild / cilantro guacamole. Add more Jalapeño if you want it hot.

1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Cilantro leaves
1 large Jalapeño pepper (seeded and deveined)
1 - 1 1/2 Avocados (Depends on ripeness, less ripe, more Avo.)
1 Tbsp. Fresh Lime juice
Dash Ancho Chili Pepper

Combine cilantro leaves, Jalapeño pepper and avocado in a food processor or blender and pulse until mixed fairly well. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.

Pink/Red Baja Sauce
This sauce is very similar to Taco Bell Baja Sauce. (Mild)

1/4 Red bell pepper
1 large Jalapeño pepper (seeded and deveined)
1/4 small Spanish onion
1 cup Mayonnaise (not fat free)
1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 tsp. Fresh ground Black Pepper
Dash of Garlic Powder
Dash of Cumin
Dash of Ancho Chili Pepper
2 Tbsp. water

Combine red bell pepper, Jalapeño pepper, onion, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, ancho chili pepper and water in a food processor or blender and puree. Combine 5-6 Tbsp. of this mixture with the Mayonnaise and vinegar. Refrigerate until needed.

Chipotle Baja Sauce
Great "smokey" flavor (Tangy)

1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/3 Cup Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. Fresh Lime juice
1 Tbsp. canned Chipotle chilies
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 tsp. Chipotle Chili Pepper

Note: Dried Chipotle Chilies can be reconstituted in boiling water and used in place of the canned variety. They will take slightly longer to break down in the blender.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until needed .

Amargo Baja Sauce
This sauce has a slightly sour / bitter taste. By itself, it does not taste very good, but in the taco it provides a contrast to Mango Salsa. It is an acquired taste.

7 oz. Crème Fraiche
1/4 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Tbsp. Honey
1 tsp. Spanish Smoked Sweet Paprika
1 tsp. Spanish Smoked Hot Paprika
1/2 tsp. Chipotle Chili Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until well combined. Pour mixture into a sauce pan and gently warm until steaming. Refrigerate until needed. To serve, reheat until warm. Pour into condiment dispenser and serve warm.


MarkyV said...

is it lunch time yet???

FatDad said...

Dude, Your Dad is killing it! He needs to slap a label on those bottles of Baja sauce and send a case or two north!

GZ said...

This looks killer. I am definitely going to work these up in a few weeks ... with a Pacifico and a lime on the side.

Nikee Pomper said...

Can't wait to try out the recipe(s). You 2 should meet up with me after a weekend workout for the best fish tacos in San Diego, South Beach in OB. The beer selection is great as well.

Ryan Denner said...

dude, your dad HOOKS IT UP!!!

barndog said...

five star presentation(and documentaion). it's great to see how a dirty baja taco has risen to such healthy adaptations. I prefer mine grilled but there is nothing like beer batter fried in San Quintin with sun-warmed mayo and a pinch of salt from the corner of your eye.

Anonymous said...

I added a little chili powder and cumin to the green Baja sauce. I made the tacos with grilled grouper and topped with pickled red onions and homemade salsa. They were awesome! Thanks for the recipes!

gunnbr said...

Just made these last night. (I know--I'm behind the times.)


Joe Chapala said...

I love fish tacos!

Taco Fish La Paz in Guadalajara, Mexico has a stand on Avenida La Paz in Guadalajara sounds like ‘Taco Nirvana’.

My experience in Mexico is that some of the best places to eat are those that are off the beaten path that the locals frequent.

I’ve been looking for good places to eat in Guadalajara and Taco Fish La Paz in Guadalajara sounds like just the place.

Fortunately, I live in Ajijic, Jalisco so the trip is a short one.

My mouth is watering,


Joe Chapala
Casa Preciosa Ajijic, Mexico

Anonymous said...

GREAT recipes! I have been looking for someone that know's what Wahoo is for, and like wise how the original fish tacos are made. I couln't see any other sites promoting clean grilled fish, just "Bear Battered" everything. Disgusting..
Thanks for restoring my faith in human nature.

Via Con Dios hombre