Friday, April 5, 2013

Gluten Free Friday ~ Fish Taco Fascination

Mexican food is still my all-time favorite cuisine ~ even after all these years of living in the land of lobster, clam chowder, corn chowder and no Tex-Mex.  At a restaurant, I would typically order something like tortilla soup or enchiladas{after eating way too many chips with salsa}, but for at least the last two years, I've been totally taken with fish tacos.  I don't think I've ordered anything but fish tacos in every Mexican or sea food restaurant from Massachusetts {Mama Iguanas}, to Texas {Salsalitos}to North Carolina {Cabo Fish Taco} California {Neptune's Net}. I just love how fresh and light they are with the perfect blend of flavors ~ yum!
I've been a little scared to try them at home, though, because I didn't think I could reproduce them well, and I wasn't sure how my fish-is-not-our-favorite-food family would respond.  I decided to be daring this week and give them a try.  After Easter I researched several recipes ~ everyone from Martha Stewart to Eating Well magazine to The Food Network ~ and found that while there are different versions of the recipe, a few things are standard like a cabbage slaw filling and white fish ~ usually tilapia.  I just picked out my favorite ingredients and cooking methods from several of the recipes I came across and came up with the one below. We had it for dinner several nights ago.  The kids ~ well, two of them anyway, Kory was off visiting colleges in Texas and evidently had his own version of fish tacos at my sister's house ~ were skeptical when they heard what I was cooking, but they ended up gobbling up every last bite.
 I grilled a stack of corn tortillas in a bit of oil {actually just sprayed each one with cooking spray} on a griddle to make them less crumbly, and we filled each one with a slaw made of Napa cabbage, purple cabbage, green onions, and cilantro as well as avocados, minced jalapenos  and grapefruit. The grocery store I went to was out of tilapia, so I just went with cod, and it was fine, but I still think tilapia would be better.  The topping was a cream sauce made of sour cream, salsa, chili powder, and cumin.  I would have used chipotle in the sauce, but every can of chipotle peppers I find is in adobo sauce which always has gluten in it.  Evidently, La Costena brand is gluten free, so I'll be on the lookout for it now.

Here's the recipe:

Fish Tacos

Marinade:
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp grated zest of lime
1 Tbsp olive oil
2-4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
2 lbs tilapia {or cod, halibut, mahi mahi}

Fillings:
1 cup purple cabbage, thinly shredded
2 cups Napa cabbage, thinly shredded
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 bunch scallions/green onions, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced or diced
1 grapefruit, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 jalapeno, diced

Cream Sauce:
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup salsa {or diced chipotle in adobo sauce}
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder


corn tortillas
cook spray

For marinade: in a small bowl, stir together olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, cumin, chili powder, pressed garlic, and salt and pepper. Cut fish in large pieces and place in a ziploc bag or glass baking dish.  Pour marinade over fish and turn fish to coat.  Refrigerate for an hour.

For filling: While fish is marinating, thinly shred cabbages, chop scallions and cilantro and toss together until thoroughly combined.  Also chop avocados, jalapenos, and grapefruit, but place in separate bowls.

For cream: Whisk together sour cream, lime juice, salsa {or chipotle}, cumin, and chili powder.  Place in a small bowl for serving alongside other fillings.

For fish: When fish has had time to marinate for about an hour {or more} place the pieces on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour marinade into a large skillet over medium heat for 15 minutes ~ it will thicken a bit and the garlic will become aromatic.  After fish has been in oven 15 minutes, transfer to skillet and cook 10 minutes more cutting the fish into smaller chunks while it cooks.

For tortillas: Heat up a griddle or skillet.  Lightly spray corn tortillas with cooking spray, and "grill" each one for a few seconds on each side.  Fold into a "taco" shape and keep warm.

Making the tacos: Fill each tortilla with cabbage slaw mixture, avocados, jalapenos, grapefruit, fish, and top with cream sauce.

Serve with brown rice and black beans and watch it all disappear!

 I think Cooper ate about 6 tacos himself ~ all filled to the brim with veggies.  Hurray for kids who will eat cabbage!

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