Wednesday, April 23, 2008

April 23: California-Style Fish Tacos

Things My Son Mostly Refused To Eat Or Drink Tonight

1. A peanut butter sandwich
2. A banana
3. A hot dog
4. Whole wheat pasta
5. A sloppy joe (he refused to believe that it was food; he thought it was a TV show. He threw the TV remote at me after I refused to let him watch sloppy joe.)
6. A slice of leftover mushroom pizza
7. Milk
8. Fruit Punch
9. A chocolate chip cookie (Seriously! A chocolate chip cookie! He said that he couldn't eat it because "it has brown in it." What?)
10. Green beans (this did not surprise me; he always refuses green beans, but I still offer them)

What he asked me for for dinner:

1. "Fackers." If anybody knows what a "facker" is, besides what my kid was acting like tonight, please tell me. He also refuses to go to sleep. Oh, this kid. There are nights when I consider medicating him, and settle for medicating myself. With wine.

I haven't wrapped a tortilla around anything in awhile, which is unusual for me. When I went to San Diego for the first time, my freshman year of high school, before my mother and stepfather were married and while he was finishing out his last year as a high school, we ate a lot of what I think of as "San Diego Mexican" food: queso fundido with fried and crumbled chorizo, chips with lots of cilantro-laden salsa, huevos rancheros with truly great ranchero sauce, everything served with freshly-made tortillas.

San Diego is famous for fish tacos as well, not a delicacy I have much of an appreciation for. I do, however, acknowledge their popularity, both in California and out of it. I also acknowledge the zen beauty of simple, fresh, beautiful food, and the joy in preparing and serving it.

My husband, a solidly midwestern boy, loves fish tacos, and despite the fact that they make my house smell like fish, I love making them. Fish chunks are generally cheaper than filets or steaks, as they're generally the trimmed parts, but if you can't find them, you can cut them from bigger pieces. Pick a good, oily, strong-tasting fish, like swordfish, shark, salmon, or tuna.

California-Style Fish Chunks in a Dipped Tortilla

2 1/4 pounds fish in 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed and minced
1/2 a medium Napa cabbage, thinly shredded
Olive oil
18 corn or 12 flour tortillas
Tomato salsa of your choice
Thinly sliced red onion
Farmers cheese or queso asidero, crumbled

In a large bowl, mix together the lemon juice, soy sauce, and chili peppers. Add the fish chunks and turn to coal all over. Set aside to marinade for 20 minutes to an hour.

Coat the bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil. Set over high heat until the oil begins to smoke. Add as many fish chunks as will fit in one uncrowded layer. Fry for 3 minutes, then turn andfry until flaky but still moist in the centers, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove to a platter and keep warm. Continue cooking until all of the fish is cooked.

Add more oil to the pan. Add the cabbage and stir-fry until the cabbage is barely wilted, about 2 minutes.

Just before serving, dip the tortills in 1/2 cup of the salsa. Heat in a frying pan or the oven.

To assemble, spread about 1/3 cup of the fish chunks in the middle of a tortilla. Top with some cabbage, salsa, and cheese. Fold and serve.


Annie K. Nodes said...

Thanks for reminding me that even though my 7 month old woke up "for the day" at 3:30AM, and it took an hour to get him back to sleep, these are indeed "the easy years."

I love fish tacos. Though I always feel dirty when I order them.

ntsc The Art of The Pig said...

The hot dogs want 1/2 pound of smoked fatty bacon.