Fishy Tacos

fish-tacos-ck-1559245-lMy mind turns to fish tacos from time to time.

And it returns there a lot.

And finally I just have to break down and make some.

It’s a messy little job, but so worth it.

You’re family will love you.

You’ll be high-fived around the neighborhood.

Well, probably not that, but surely you will be glad you did.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup beer (plus more as necessary)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (see note above)
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha or other chili sauce (see note above)
  • 2 quarts canola oil, or peanut
  • 1 pound white fish (such as cod, hake, or halibut), cut into eight 2-ounce fingers
  • 16 flour tortillas, warmed
  • 1/2 small head of cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 recipe pickled red onions, or scallions, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine flour, paprika, black pepper, and salt and whisk to combine. Transfer half of mixture to a large bowl and set aside. Add beer and egg to remaining mixture and whisk until a smooth batter is formed. Batter should have the consistency of thick paint (add up to 1/2 cup more beer as necessary until proper consistency is reached). Set aside.

  2. Combine mayonnaise and hot sauce in a medium bowl and whisk until homogenous. Set aside.

  3. Heat oil in a deep fryer, Dutch oven, or large wok to 350°F. Transfer fish pieces to bowl with batter and turn to coat thoroughly. Working one piece at a time, lift fish, let excess batter drip off, then transfer to bowl with remaining flour mixture. Toss to coat thoroughly. Lift carefully with tongs or dry fingers and slowly lower into hot oil. Repeat with remaining fish.

  4. Fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plated and season with salt.

  5. Divide tortillas into 8 double stacks. Top each with shredded cabbage, 1 piece of fish, pickled red onions, chili mayo, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

    SERVES: 4

    NOTES: You can alter the condiments as you wish. Some prefer making regular coleslaw. You might also add some queso fresco or there similar Mexican cheese. The point is the fish is light and very crispy. I drain the pieces on paper towelling on a rack and when completed, pop them in the oven at about 200 to keep warm while I finish up things.

    SOURCE: adapted slightly from Serious Eats.

     

 

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Pilfered Pantry Pasta

Kale-and-sundried-pasta-finishedYes, I know I have a fondness for alliteration, perhaps, I go a bit overboard.

In any event, sometimes one wants to be utterly creative, or one is inspired to become creative a little bit.

I did.

This is the result.

So if you want to be creative, use this as a jumping off spot to create your very own version of “what can I find that I had forgotten I had in the pantry that I can put together and eat in one dish?”

Whew.

So here is what I did.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 lb (about 2/3 of a box of any pasta you like, cooked al dente.
  • 1 lg can of tuna, or a lg pouch, drained.
  • a small handful of dried mushrooms of any kind, reconstituted in warm water or broth
  • about one cup of chopped kale, swiss chard, cos lettuce, spinach–whatever you have in the fridge or garden
  • 1/3 c oil-packed dried tomatoes,chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers, chopped
  • 1/3 c your favorite olives, chopped
  • 1 lg shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 1/2 of a sweet pepper, sliced thinly
  • a can of any beans you have on hand, rinsed well
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 1 tsp pepper flakes
  • pepper to taste
  • plenty of good Parmigiano cheese for grating.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Saute the shallot and garlic in about 2 tbsp of olive oil, until soft and fragrant.
  2. Add the mushrooms and sweet pepper and continue sauteing until they are tender crisp done.
  3. Add the tomatoes, olives, beans, capers and continue until all is warmed and blended.
  4. Add the wine and the tuna, and pepper flakes and black pepper, stirring until mixed.
  5. Add the cooked pasta and combine.
  6. Serve with plenty of grated Parmigiano and some lovely crusty bread.

SERVES: 2

NOTES: obviously substitute freely on most any of the ingredients. You could use some sausage instead of the tuna, or some seafood. I think tomatoes, shallots and garlic are basic, but after that add any stray veggies you need to use up. Omit beans if you desire. Use Asiago or Feta cheese instead. Use up your pantry oddities. Fresh mushrooms instead of dried. And so on.

SOURCE: Inspired by Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide

 

The Real Deal Fish & Chips

Taverns make the best fish and chips.

When I was a kid, my dad stopped on Fridays at a local tavern on his way home and got greasy bags of succulent fish and crisp french fries.

When I married, our local tavern had Friday fish fries and we used to gorge.

Then they changed hands, and well, that was the end of that.

So I had to learn.

And I’m very picky about my fish. The “Gordon’s” crap is uneatable. So I had to learn.

Alton Brown from the Food Network did this one up, and it is perfect.

I know, deep-frying is a pain. I have a big old lunky deep fryer, but frankly find a big cast iron skillet works best and I don’t use nearly the oil.

I’ve given you two ways to do the french fries. Frankly I always bake mine now.

So get to it, cuz you know you love it.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can beer
  • 1 1/2 lbs. fish of your choice
  • 3/4 c flour
  • 3-4 russet potatoes
  • oil

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE FISH:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients with a whisk and then add the beer until you get a pretty thin batter.
  2. Dry fish and cut into manageable pieces.
  3. Dust in the flour and place on a rack until all are done.
  4. Then with a wooden skewer (this just works so nicely), dip in the batter and let excessive drip off. Then back into the flour. Then replace on the rack.
  5. Place in a 375° oil deep fryer or other suitable pan until done–lightly browned. Don’t crowd.
  6. Place on a rack with paper towelling beneath to catch drips. When all are done, place in a warm oven to hold until french fries are done.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE FRENCH FRIES: (METHOD I)

  1. Cut up potatoes into nice stick form. Place in a microwave safe dish with 1/4 oil and cook just until pliable.
  2. Dry the potatoes.
  3. Place in the oil at 325-250°  for about 6-8 minutes. Remove, drain, and when all are done, refry for 3 minutes more in batches again.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE FRENCH FRIES: (METHOD II)

  1. Cut up potatoes. Uniformity matters more here. Place in a plastic bag and add about 3 tbsp of oil. Shake and massage until all are coated.
  2. Place on a parchment paper lined jelly roll or cookie sheet. Don’t let chips touch each other. You may need 2 sheets to accommodate all.
  3. Place in pre-heated 425° for about 12 minutes and then turn on the broiler and cook for an additional 10 minutes or so until nicely golden. (the broiler obviates having to tediously turn them all over).

Serves: 2-4

Serve with coleslaw and homemade tartar sauce.