Two weeks ago I met my friend Laura for a casual dinner on a Saturday night. We met up without any clear idea of where we would go and a few minutes into our contemplation, Laura informed me that her birthday was Monday. She wanted margaritas.
Who was I to argue with an impromptu birthday celebration [or birthday "ambush" as Laura so eloquently phrased it]?
While tacos and margaritas are a perfect Saturday night plan, tacos are also a super simple weeknight dinner, whether you’re planning to host friends, cook for the family or impress a date. Growing up, tacos in my house were an Old El Paso affair, complete with a taco kit and ground beef cooked on the stove top. No offense to the yellow box, but these are much better. Don’t let them number of steps fool you – each step is relatively quick and uncomplicated.
Tacos have been part of Mexico’s culinary heritage for over a century. The folded corn or wheat flour tortillas can be stuffed with any number of fillings – while for Americans, it’s usually a matter of personal preference, in Mexico, each state claims their own version.
Fish tacos are said to come from Baja California, which is the northern tip of Mexico. Some versions of this recipe are made with deep fried fish but I found that cooking it on a stove top in olive oil is just as flavorful – and healthier – than any other version.
Adapted from Epicurious.com
What You Need:
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
About 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 jalapeño, stemmed and chopped
1 pound flaky white fish (such as mahi mahi or cod), cut into 4 pieces
8 fresh corn tortillas
Mexican crema, homemade or store-bought
Fresh Tomato Salsa
2 limes, cut into quarters
Marinate the Onion
Put the onion in a small bowl and pour in enough red wine vinegar to cover well. Set aside for at least 30 minutes or up to several weeks.
Marinate the Fish
Pour the olive oil into a small bowl and add the ancho chile powder, oregano, cumin, chopped cilantro, and jalapeño. Mix well. Place the fish on a dish and pour the marinade over it, making sure to coat the fish well on both sides. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes.
Cook the Fish
Heat a nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Remove the fish from the marinade and place in the hot pan (there is no need to add more oil). Season the fish with salt. Cook the fish for 4 minutes undisturbed, then turn over, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and flake the fish into the pan with a fork, making sure to mix in all the marinade that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Set aside.
Heat the Tortillas
Place four of the tortillas on a plate and sandwich them between two slightly dampened sheets of paper towel. Microwave on high for 45 seconds. Place the warm tortillas in a towel-lined basket or plate and cover. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Assemble and Serve
To assemble the tacos, place a heaping spoonful of the marinated flaked fish onto the center of a tortilla. Top with the marinated onions. Serve accompanied by Mexican crema and salsa.
Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs.Print This Recipe