Fish Taco Makeover
Better now than what I remember
BY MAGAZINE COO MARGO MAIER
The first time I had a fish taco was over a decade ago at the Flying Fish Grill in Half Moon Bay, California. West coast casual and with a groovy beach vibe, I fell instantly in love with the warm, lightly-crusted fish wrapped up in a soft corn tortilla and topped with mango salsa, eaten outside in the fresh ocean breeze.
A sweet and delicious memory to be sure, but they were not especially good for me. The fish was of unknown origin, deep-fried, and along with the mango salsa was swimming in a sour cream based “special sauce.”
Naturally, the whole thing came with french fries.
The fish tacos we enjoy these days are East coast cool, healthier and more flavorful than the ones I enjoyed at the famous Flying Fish. One reason is portions. 3-4 ounces of fish per person is more than enough when it takes its place with an abundance of vegetables and a modest portion of grain.
Our New York version features broiled fish sharing a warm organic corn tortilla with sauteed mushrooms and onions and a slice of creamy avocado. Top with salsa and accompany with a steamed green vegetable like broccoli, and you’ve got a casual, healthy and delicious lunch or dinner that’s also fun to eat!
Manhattan Fish Tacos for two
6-8 ounce wild-caught Alaskan halibut*
6 organic corn tortillas
1 medium red or yellow onion
4 oz mushrooms (any variety, preferably organic)
1 clove garlic
1 ripe organic avocado
broccoli or other green vegetable, steamed
your favorite organic salsa
*Wild Pacific halibut, not Atlantic halibut, is rated as a “Best Choice” for healthy oceans by the Monteray Bay Acquarium Seafood Watch Program.
The trick to pulling this meal together is timing, as several things get prepared separately and then put together on the plate at the end. First of all, relax! Everything doesn’t have to be timed to perfection. Nothing will be ruined if it sits for a couple of minutes while you pull other things together.
If you do want to go for multi-tasking heroics, spend some prep time making sure everything is rinsed, chopped, sliced, seasoned and ready to go. Then pop the fish in the broiler, the tortillas in the oven, and while those are going, saute the vegetables, and follow up last with steaming the broccoli. Everything will be done in about ten minutes.
Cook the fish Preheat your broiler (or grill). Season the fish on both sides with salt, freshly ground pepper, and a light brushing of olive oil. Cook the fish 4-5 minutes each side, flipping once. The time it takes depends on the thickness of the fish, the heat of your boiler or grill, and how well-cooked you like your fish.
Prepare the vegetables Dice the onions and slice the mushrooms. Mince a clove of garlic as well, if you like. Saute the onions in olive oil over medium heat until they soften. Add the mushrooms and garlic (omit garlic, if desired) and cook until done.
Heat the tortillas Wrap 4-6 tortillas in a piece of foil and warm in a preheated (350F) oven for 10 minutes. Tip To keep the tortillas from getting tough, make one of them damp, shake off the excess water, and wrap with the others to steam the tortillas in the foil.
Steam the side dish Steam your green vegetable of choice.
Final touch Cut the avocado into slices. How to cut and peel an avocado.
Plate up everything while still warm (except that cool avocado) and assemble the tacos one by one with the warm tortillas. Eat them with your hands — yes, it’s messy, but it’s also fun!
Theme and Variations
Here are some ways to change up this delightful meal:
- add slices of fresh mango or papaya
- add diced bell pepper in with the onions
- chop some cilantro for garnish and an extra zing of flavor
- squeeze a wedge of lemon or lime over the assembled tacos
- substitute shrimp, scallops or your favorite fish for the halibut
- saute or steam tofu and use instead of seafood
- add some plain brown rice for a heartier meal
- season fish and/or onions with hot pepper or chili powder
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.