Something about sunshine, warmer winds and an optimism that spring will bloom soon turns my attention to recipes with fish. In the darker days of winter, a nice hot bowl of chowder or seafood stew grabs my appetite. However, in the spring a good fish fry is in order.
In California, fish tacos easily come to mind. They are quite popular with residents and tourists alike. Fresh fish is an important ingredient for these tacos. Make sure that any fish you buy was not previously frozen.* Make certain your fish does not smell like fish because odor indicates aging.
This recipe easily adapts if you want to save time and energy and just fry the fish to serve with a salad and vegetable too.
FRESH FISH TACOS WITH CHIPOTLE CHILI YOGURT SAUCE: Gluten free, Kosher, non-alcoholic, fresh and healthy
In order to serve the fish tacos hot and fresh, begin by assembling your condiments and accompaniments prior to preparing the fish.
Condiments and Accompaniments:
Finely shredded cabbage (green, red or a mixture)
Chipotle Chili Yogurt Sauce, recipe below
Spice Mixture, recipe below or your favorite spice rub
Shred the cabbage, make the chili yogurt sauce and refrigerate, and slice the lime wedges. Make the spice mixture. Set tortillas aside until ready to heat. You can also pour yourself a glass of beer at this point to drink while you cook.
1 cup Gluten Free All-purpose flour mix + 2 tablespoons cornstarch (homemade or purchased)
OR 1 cup all-purpose white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne or ground chipotle pepper
1 egg (or egg substitute)
(Substitute 1 TBL vegetable oil if egg allergic)
1 cup GF beer or Coddled Milk (to be non-alcoholic and lactose free, club soda can also be substituted)
OR 1 cup beer at room temperature
(I recommend Guiness Stout Ale or Grolsh)
2 teaspoons hot sauce (Tabasco, Cholula or Spontaneous Combustion)
16-24 ounces, firm fleshed fish such as Cod, Tilapia or Halibut, sliced into strips
Optional: 2 tablespoons spice mix, recipe below
Vegetable oil for frying. (Use enough to cover the bottom of your pan to depth of approx. ¼ inch.)
Alternatively, the fish can be baked at 375° for 8-10 minutes.
Always check earlier for doneness.
Mix the one cup of flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne or chipotle pepper together in a medium mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, add the egg, beer and hot sauce.
Stir until the ingredients combine thoroughly and the mixture is smooth.
Carefully mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, slowly. Gently mix them together.
Optional if using spice mixture: Season each piece of fish with 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture. Sprinkle with lime juice. Let stand about 5 minutes. The lime will help firm the fish flesh.
Cut each fillet into diagonal strips, 1 ½ inches long.
Heat the oil, using enough to cover the pan bottom, in a large saucepan or a deep frying pan to help reduce splatter.
Dredge each slice of fish in the beer batter, coating the fish completely (remember to cover the area where your fingers hold the fish). Pause with the fish over the bowl to allow any extra batter to drip back into the bowl.
Then, slowly (I really mean slowly to prevent splatter burns) lower the fish into the hot oil.
DO NOT drop the fish, just lower it slowly and release it. Fry the fish until it is puffed up, golden brown and crispy. Frying should take 3-5 minutes.
Remove the fish with tongs or a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels placed in an oven proof dish. You can keep the fried fish pieces warm in a 225º oven while you finish frying.
Repeat this process with the remaining fish slices. Work in small batches because the fish will puff up. You don’t want the pieces to touch each other.
While the fish stays warm, heat the corn tortillas.
Assemble and enjoy!
Chili Cream Sauce:
(about 1 ¾ cups)
1 ½ cups lowfat or nonfat Greek yogurt
(nonfat or lowfat sour cream can be used as a substitute)
2 large chipotle peppers in adobo (or more if you like it hot)
juice of 1 small lime
lightly salt and pepper
Blend ingredients until pureed.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
Taste and adjust seasoning.
Optional Spice Mixture:
3 tablespoons hot Hungarian paprika (not sweet)
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper or chipotle pepper powder
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cumin
*Frozen works if it is all that’s available. It just doesn’t keep a firm meaty texture like fresh fish.
**Optional condiments: sliced avocado, guacamole, salsa fresca