Archive | Seafood RSS feed for this section

Fish Tacos

13 Aug

 

Is all this talk about sewing making anybody out there hungry?  Well, I’ve got the perfect fix for that — these delicious tacos stuffed with honey and cumin glazed crispy fried fish and spicy chipotle slaw.  Mr. Homemaker and I enjoy making these tacos together when we have a little extra time to spend together in the kitchen, usually on a weekend afternoon.  With a little preplanning you could definitely turn this into a weeknight meal as well though.  We discovered these tasty treats a few years ago and have shared the addiction with many of our friends and family since then.

While the recipe calls for tilapia, you can substitute any mild white fish you have on hand.  For this batch, we used some red snapper from our deep freeze that was caught by yours truly last summer.  We have also made them with the day’s fresh catch of bass and bream from the family pond.  Either way they are delicious.

 

 

One word of caution, the original recipe, linked here, calls for way more chipotles in adobo than we think is necessary (and we aren’t wimps about spice).  I have modified the recipe I am presenting here but if you are sensitive to heat, please start with 1/2 or 1/3 the amount of chipotle paste and increase it to taste.  It is some pretty spicy stuff!

So gather round your favorite peeps, whip up a batch of refreshing drinks (maybe some of these), and have a fish taco fiesta soon!

 

 

Fish Tacos

Serves 4

  • 1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into chunks
  • 1/2  plus 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon pureed chipotle pepper with sauce*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups panko crumbs
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 cups 3 color coleslaw blend
  • 1 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 8 (7 inch) flour tortillas, warmed

*I take a whole jar of chipotles in adobo sauce and puree it in the food processor.  I then transfer the puree to a resealable container and keep it in the fridge to use as needed.

Directions

  1. Place the tilapia chunks in a flat dish and pour 1/2 cup lime juice over the fish. Cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours.  (We have marinated for as little as 30 minutes with good results.)
  2. Meanwhile, make the honey-cumin sauce by whisking together 1/3 cup lime juice, honey, vegetable oil, and ground cumin a small bowl. Set aside until needed.
  3. To make the chipotle mayonnaise dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, pureed chipotle sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.
  4. To bread the fish, place the flour, eggs, and panko crumbs in three separate shallow dishes. Season the fish with salt and pepper to taste. Dip the fish pieces first in the four, coating evenly, and shaking off any excess. Dip next in the eggs, and last in the panko crumbs, patting the pieces to help the breadcrumbs hold. Set the fish aside on a plate.
  5. To cook the breaded fish, pour 1 cup vegetable oil into a skillet to 1/4 inch deep. Heat the oil to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C) over medium heat. Cook the fish, turning until all sides are golden brown, and flesh is easily flaked with a fork. Drain on paper towels. Brush the fish with the honey-cumin sauce.
  6. Mix the coleslaw and cilantro together in a bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup of the chipotle mayonnaise dressing, and pour the remaining dressing over the coleslaw mixture. Toss to coat evenly with the dressing.
  7. Place the tortillas on a flat surface, and spread each with a little bit of reserved chipotle mayonnaise dressing. Divide the fish between the tortillas. Top with the cilantro coleslaw.

Wicked Caramelized Sea Scallops

1 Mar

This past weekend Matt and I took an itty bitty teeny-weeny little tiny mini vacation to see the musical Wicked in Birmingham.  While I had great plans to sew a skirt especially for the occasion, I just didn’t have enough time to finish narrow hemming four layers of thin, silky fabric before we left.  And it’s a shame, too, because one of the leads in the production wore a very similar skirt in one of the scenes of the musical.  Instead, I decided to wear a beautiful store-bought dress that has been hanging unworn in my closet for a while.

While we were in Birmingham, we stopped by Whole Foods to do a little shopping (but mostly to just look and drool).  We brought home some gorgeous 10-count sea scallops that I cooked that evening for dinner.  Those of you who know me, know that I am a die-hard baker — I love that baking is very scientific and follow-the-directions.  I am less fond of cooking since it is more art than science (back to the whole OCD/control-freak bit again).  Scallops are one thing that I like to cook, though, thanks to the excellent directions in this cookbook.

I first learned about Thomas Keller when Matt and I were in Napa Valley a few years ago.  While we didn’t eat at any of his restaurants, I sure wanted to.  When we got home, I purchased the French Laundry and ad hoc at home cookbooks.  I don’t know that I’ll ever make anything from the French Laundry but I do use ad hoc on a pretty regular basis.  The roasted chicken has become a regular on my table (I’ll share it with you sometime), and his ice cream is divine.

These scallops are extremely easy to prepare and are almost fool-proof.  I recommend waiting until you can find really large scallops — like those that are 12 or less to the pound — so that your dish will turn out successfully.  This dish is definitely one that you could serve to impress guests but also works well as a quick, light meal on a busy night (like it was for Matt and I after we spent 4 hours on the road home from Birmingham and made a detour by the state farmers’ market in Montgomery).

A few notes about this simple recipe to ensure it succeeds without a glitch:

1.  Try to use the specified brand of Kosher salt.  If you can’t find it or don’t have it, measure your salt by weight, not volume.  In other words, if you don’t have Diamond Crystal, weigh out 5 ounces of salt — don’t use a measuring cup.

2.  Do not use olive oil.  Olive oil is not well-suited for high-heat cooking and may scorch.  You could use canola or vegetable oil if you had to, but clarified butter really is the best.

3.  To clarify butter, simply melt 1/2 stick of butter in a small sauce pan over low heat.  Pour it into a small, narrow glass.  Let it sit until the milk solids have settled to the bottom and you see two distinct layers.  Skim the foam off the top and discard.  Carefully pour the clear yellow liquid off the top into another small container (this is your clarified butter).  Discard the milk solids that remain in the bottom.

4.  Use a stainless steel pan.  It will caramelize the scallops better than a nonstick pan.

Caramelized Sea Scallops

Serves 6
 
1 cup (5 ounces) Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 cups boiling water
8 cups cold water
1 dozen large (8-10 count per pound) or 1 3/4 pounds sea scallops
2 tablespoons clarified butter
1/2 lemon (optional)
 

Line a small baking sheet with paper towels.  In a large bowl, combine the salt and boiling water, stirring to dissolve the salt.  Stir in the cold water.  Add the scallops to the brine and let stand for 10 minutes but no longer as the scallops may become too salty.  Remove from the brine and rinse under cold water.  Place on a single layer on the baking sheet to drain.

Heat the clarified butter in a large stainless steel frying pan over medium-high heat until it ripples and smokes.  Sprinkle the scallops lightly with salt then add to the pan without crowding (scallops should not touch — cook in two batches if necessary).  Cook, without moving the scallops, until the bottoms are a rich golden brown, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes.  Turn the scallops and caramelize the second side.

Transfer the scallops to a serving platter and serve with a squeeze of lemon juice on top, if desired.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 310 other followers