You might say I'm obsessed with fish tacos. After moving to New York from California three years ago, I've searched far and wide for some good fish taco joints. With the exception of a few places (notably Miracle Grill and Mercadito) I have been somewhat disappointed.
There is something about eating this dish in a fine dining establishment that rubs me the wrong way. In Southern California, fish tacos are almost like a fast food item. Being sold at places like Rubio's and Wahoo's, rather inexpensively.
Until Monday, I never attempted to recreate this dish in my own kitchen. Perhaps I thought this could only be prepared in the kitchen by Mexicans or on the soil of the Golden State. Boy was I wrong.
I was truly amazed by how easy these were to prepare. All it took was some corn tortillas, tilapia, guacamole, and some "house-made" chipotle mayo (a little Vegenaise and Chipotle Tabasco Sauce).
You probably won't see this dish in food magazines this time of year, as it is a classic summer item. Yet, I found a way to make it more December-friendly - adding a colorful radish, broiling instead of grilling, and serving with some roasted sweet potatoes.
I think the key is to find some good corn tortillas. I like the ones at Trader Joes (now in Brooklyn) and by Hot Bread Kitchen (a pretty cool social enterprise that employs local, immigrant bakers).
Here is my recipe. Try for yourself and save the trip to Baja.
3 tbsp salsa
1/8 red onion, diced
A few springs of cilantro
1/4 tsp salt
Juice from 1/4 lemon
In a medium bowl mash avocado with other ingredients.
3 tbsp Vegenaise
a bit of Chipotle Tabasco Sauce
In a small bowl, mix together until slight red color from Tabasco sauce. Add more/less depending on taste.
4 corn tortillas
8 oz tilapia, patted dry
1 radish, sliced
1/3 tsp paprika
1/3 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
juice of 1/4 lemon
Preheat the broiler. While heating, drizzle the lemon juice over the fish and sprinkle the chili powder, paprika, oregano, and salt on both sides. Place the whole fish on the broiler rack and leave in oven for 6-10 minutes. Check on fish and make sure it is fully cooked. Transfer to platter and cut up into one-inch-thick strips. Turn off broiler.
Wrap stack of tortillas in foil and place in the oven for a couple minutes (the residual heat should be enough to warm these). Top tortillas with chipotle mayo, broiled fish, guacamole, and sliced radish.
Serve with a lemon or lime wedge. Enjoy!