Fish Tacos and Guacamole

Yep, it’s summer.  Time for many of my favorite things:  fish tacos, fresh corn on the cob; homemade guacamole; hot weather and cold beer.  We’ve had the hot weather in spades, but the corn and tomatoes are just starting to come in.  Cold beer is an all season thing, but it tastes best with a really good summer dinner.  Not much in the way of recipes here.  This is one of those things that turns out a little differently each time.

First, I do fry the fish.  You don’t have to, but I think it tastes best this way.  A couple of tips about frying. Tip 1:  There’s no reason to batter fish, at least not for tacos.  I dredge mine in a mixture of corn meal, flour, salt, pepper and Seafood Magic.  I just mix up a bunch and keep it in a mason jar in the cabinet.  That puts a powdery fine coating of yummy on the fish.  Tip 2:   No need to use a deep fryer.  A heavy skillet will do.  Cast iron is the best because it holds the heat so well.  Tip 3:  Make sure the oil is HOT!  Fried food gets greasy when it absorbs the oil.  (duh).  When the oil is hot enough a crust forms immediately and the crust wicks away the excess oil.  Cool, huh?  Tip 4:  Do your fish in small batches so you don’t lower the temperature of the oil too much when you add the fish.  Empty the skillet of the first batch before you start the second.  It’s just easier to keep up that way.

Second, the guacamole is key.  Everyone has their own secret to amazing guacamole.  Boudro’s in San Antonio uses 1/4 of an orange in theirs.  A lot of people swear by a mortar and pestle.  There are three key things in my guac:  First, use plenty of fresh lime juice.  It adds a nice sharpness and it keeps the avocado from turning brown.    Second, add a splash of tequila.  Really, it makes a difference.  Third, mix it with your hands.  Dice an avocado, 1/2 a tomato, 1/2 an onion, 1/2 a jalapeno.  Put it all in a bowl with some chopped fresh cilantro, salt and pepper.  Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime and add a splash of tequila.  Sometimes a shake of cumin is nice too.  Then squeeze everything through your hands until it’s the consistency you want.  Using your hands keeps the guacamole a little chunky.  I think it holds up better that way.  You can store it.  Put it in a small dish and cover with another squeeze of lime juice.  Cover in plastic wrap, but push the plastic wrap down so that it touches the entire surface of the guacamole. You’re trying to keep the air from touching the avocado. That’s what turns it brown.

So here’s what you do:

Heat 1/2 inch canola oil in a cast iron skillet.  Heat it until it smokes.

Cut the fish filets into 1×3 inch pieces.  I use tilapia or catfish.

Dredge the fish in flour mixture.  (Flour, corn meal, salt, pepper, Seafood Magic).  Shake off the excess.

Add fish to pan.  Fry 1-2 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the fish.

Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel.

Serve in warm tortillas topped with guacamole, shredded cabbage, a tiny dollop of sour cream and a squeeze of lime juice.

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