Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fish Tacos in Five Minutes

What a fun thing this blog has turned into. My kitchen is full of notes for current and future recipes, as well as ideas from other people for meals they’d like simplified so that they, too, can spend more time at the table together. Looking at life OUT of the fast lane.
I have been a little amazed by how many people have said, “Oh, I bought the stuff to make ________ and I’ll make it this weekend.” This is for a meal that takes 20-30 minutes to fix. It makes me realize that folks who work full-time often don’t cook at all during the week. Maybe sandwiches or leftovers, certainly take-out and I’d guess a couple of restaurant meals. So, try this fish taco meal. My sister made a version of this once while visiting and we've been making it ever since.
This dish is faster than going and picking something up at the local pizza shop. The fish is done in FIVE MINUTES. You can make other things to go with it and it will take longer, but you can make a fairly balanced meal in nearly the time it takes the fish to cook.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like fish tacos. They’re on menus as main courses with beans and rice; they’re also listed as starter some places. They may come with tartar sauce and lettuce and tomatoes or with coleslaw and jalapenos. However you like them, I am sure you’ll make this super-easy and incredibly fast version one day soon—maybe today. This is one of those meals for which you would want to shop the day you’re cooking or, at very most, the day before.

Could serve with: A can (or homemade) of black or pinto beans mixed with sautéed bits of onion and green or red peppers. A side of Southwestern rice if you’ve got time. Homemade pico de gallo--why not? If you have a Cuisinart, you have pico in 30 seconds Easiest: some finely shredded lettuce with minced tomatoes on top.
Wine: We had this last night with a South African Chenin Blanc. I adore Dry Creek (CA) Chenin Blanc and, there are surely lots more out there. A Riesling would also be appropriate or maybe even a no-oak Chardonnay. Something light and refreshing anyway.
Dessert: Definitely a fresh fruit salad with some blondies from the last blog!
Possibilities: You could grill the fish instead of sautéing it. Or,
surely you might sometime choose fish other than tilapia. Just be careful it’s a fish that comes very well-filleted. You wouldn’t see bones in the tacos.
Music: How about some Spanish guitar music or maybe some salsa? I am fond of planning meals (usually Friday night ones) and buying music just for the meal. Much cheaper than going out to the movies and music lasts.
Prep: Set the table, light the candles and pour the drinks before you begin to cook. Set out any condiments (cheese, salsa, fresh limes) or veg (cabbage) ahead of time so the fish doesn’t get cold while you try to get those things together. I suggest heating the bowl or platter for the fish so it stays warm throughout the meal. Wrap warmed tortillas in foil and then in a towel in the basket and they’ll stay warm for as long as you need them.

Sing a new song as you cook your heart out,

Fish Tacos in Five Minutes
Serves 4

2T olive oil
1½# filleted fresh Tilapia fish
2t chili powder
½ t Kosher salt; ¼ t freshly ground pepper

8-10 small (about 6”) corn tortillas
2 limes, cut into eighths
2 c shredded coleslaw mix (or shredded cabbage)
1 16 oz. container pre-made guacamole (or homemade)
½ c salsa
1 c shredded cheddar (white Vermont if possible)

Preheat oven to 200F. Place oven-proof bowl or platter (used later at table for fish) in oven. Place small cookie sheet or casserole in oven to hold tortillas as they are heated.
Mix coleslaw and guacamole in medium bowl and place on table with the bowls of salsa, cheese and limes.
Heat small griddle or skillet over medium heat and begin heating tortillas one at a time. Flip each as it becomes quite warm, but not toasted. After each tortilla is heated, place in a foil package on a small cookie sheet in oven to stay warm while fish cooks.
Heat 2T olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Place tilapia in pan and sprinkle with 1t chili powder and salt and pepper. Saute for 2-3 minutes until light golden on the cooked side and turn gently to avoid breaking tender fish. Sprinkle second side with remaining chili powder and salt and pepper, cooking until barely done and flaking. If unsure fish is done, take a half piece out and cut a bit to taste for doneness. Fish should be opaque and smooth, not gooey. Place fish in warmed bowl, split pieces in thirds and remove bowl and warmed tortillas to table.
To assemble, place a piece or two of fish in the tortilla, add 3-4 T cabbage with guacamole, 2T cheese and salsa to taste. Squeeze lime over all of the filling and enjoy.

Couldn't resist showing off our newly graduated daughter:


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