Posts tagged ‘fish’
Nothing screams springtime like fresh ingredients and brightly colored veggies. As soon as the first warm day hits, I am craving salads, slaws, and anything on a grill. These fish tacos fit the bill perfectly! My boyfriend and I recently returned from an amazing Florida vacation, where we visited my grandparents and extended family, explored Ybor City in Tampa, and replenished our Vitamin D levels on the beach.
All of the sun kicked my veggie cravings into overdrive, and so I jumped at the opportunity to make a fun lunch for my grandparents!
Fish tacos seem to have become rather trendy these days, and come in several varieties. My requirements for a good fish taco are as follows: good grilled fish, not the fried stuff. Traditional corn tortillas, not flour. Avocado, in some form. Lots of cilantro. And a good, tangy, fresh cole slaw. Hold the mayo.
Simple, right? Still, many places don’t hold a candle to this homemade version. This recipe was inspired from bits and pieces of many that I have read, taking my favorite parts from all. Feel free to do the same with mine, or try out my version to let me know what you think!
16 corn tortillas
1 lb white fish fillets (use what is local to your region – I have used Cod in NE and tilapia in FL both with great results)
spices: paprika, chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, pepper
1 small head purple cabbage, finely sliced (you can also use green, but the color makes these fun)
1 bunch scallion, whites discarded
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp lime juice (I used from a bottle, but fresh is always fun!)
3 tbsp cilantro, finely minced
1 jalapeno, finely minced (use 2 if you like more heat)
for avocado cream:
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 tbsp minced cilantro
Assemble slaw first. Slice cabbage and scallions finely, then mince garlic and jalapenos. Combine with lime juice and minced cilantro. Add a pinch of salt if desired. Combine and refrigerate while preparing other components to allow flavors to combine.
Next, combine avocado, greek yogurt, and remaining cilantro in a food processor. Combine until very smooth. Cover in a small bowl and refrigerate.
Wrap corn tortillas in foil and place in oven to warm while cooking fish. Alternatively, place tortillas individually on a warm griddle after cooking fish for a crispier taco.
To prepare fish, begin by washing filets and patting dry. Season both sides with aforementioned spices according to taste. (More cayenne for the spice lovers, more paprika and chili powder for a deeper and sweeter flavor.) Salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet with a cover. Add fish filets but do not crowd the pan. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip, then cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until fish is flaky and cooked through.
To assemble tacos, take warmed corn tortilla and spoon avocado cream across the bottom. Top with slaw and a small piece of fish. Fold in half and enjoy immediately!
I spoke too soon! I may have mentioned that I rarely receive excited unknown veggies anymore in my Boston Organics box… well, the veggie gods must have taken that as a complaint and decided to throw me a curveball.
That, right there, is (not my own picture of) kohlrabi. I had no idea what this strange and questionable vegetable was until I googled it. I had heard of kohlrabi before but never actually seen it (or many recipes with it) and so was at a loss until 4 failed searches in. After reading a little bit about how the inside of kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked, I searched some recipes, which led me to this delicious creation from Epicurious. It looked simple and amenable to ingredients I already had in my fridge and freezer, so I decided to give it a shot!
The result? Amazing! Now, I might not be running out to the store for kohlrabi to incorporate into every meal. However, I would definitely make the trip to make this recipe again, and am looking forward to further experimentation should I happen upon this veggie in my box in the future! Kohlrabi has a great firm texture with a sharp, fresh taste. I almost want to compare it to a hybrid apple and potato, but that might be a stretch. Regardless, it worked great with the sweet corn and tropical flavors from the salsa I used, and really enhanced what would otherwise be a boring white fish. The key to the kohlrabi being edible and enjoyable is to peel it well– we used an industrial peeler and still ended with some of the thick, waxy coating in the finished product. Next time I know to be more careful! Also, though sources say you can enjoy it raw, I definitely preferred it cooked! Lastly, I made mini wedges instead of dicing the kohlrabi, which led to longer and more uneven boiling. Next time, I am going to dice the kohlrabi (and suggest you try it that way!) so that it is faster and blends into the compote better!
If you find yourself with kohlrabi or a craving for something new, give this recipe a shot! It comes together in less than a half hour, including prep time, so is great for a quick, healthy and delicious weeknight meal for two!
White Fish with Tropical Kohlrabi and Corn Compote
inspired by this recipe, serves 2
2 haddock (or other local white fish) fillets
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 kohlrabi, peeled well and diced
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup tropical salsa (I used Mango Salsa from Costco)
Heat olive oil in a frying pan until popping hot. Add the fish fillets and season with salt and pepper. Cook 4 minutes, then carefully flip. Season again with salt and pepper, then cook 4-5 more minutes or until cooked through. Transfer fish to oven-safe dish and keep in a warm oven.
Meanwhile, bring roughly diced kohlrabi to a boil and cook until fork tender – about 5 minutes. Drain and mix with corn and salsa over low heat. Once warmed through and well combined, spoon mixture over fish fillets and serve.
“Wanna go to Germany for the day?” Sure, why not! The blessing and curse of traveling in continental Europe is how close and easily accessible everything is. We traveled from Prague to Dresden in 3 hrs for less than 600 Kc (divide that by 17 to get to USD – such fun mental math, right?) and were able to see the city and a bit of German countryside in a nicely packaged day trip. However, I also feel like this might be a trap for a lot of overly enthusiastic backpackers. We saw many people camped out at various train stations throughout Europe, and overheard excited college students talking about spending one day here and another day there and an afternoon somewhere else. With a pace that fast, how do you really get to experience the place that your visiting? Maybe it works for some people, but I really enjoyed getting to spend a little longer in each of the countries I visited, even if we only spent a day in certain cities.
With that being said, I am really happy that I got to go to Germany even if just for a day. I connected through Munich twice before going to Dresden, and through Dusseldorf once more on my way home. I can’t make a pitstop in a country without ever seeing one of its cities! Dresden was also my only option for a study abroad program in college as a science major, and I chose not to go because it was too early in my curriculum for me to feel comfortable venturing to Europe on my own. I also wanted to see what real Germans were like, since I was most often confused for a German and not American tourist while abroad (the Lufthansa flight attendants seemed to have the hardest time figuring out where I was from, but I was also stopped on the street a few times in Prague for directions by German speaking tourists). Even though I only spent a day in Germany, I accomplished two of my three goals! I got to see all of the Old Town, which has been completely rebuilt since the bombings in WWII. I am unsure if I actually got to see too many Germans since we were mainly in tourist areas, though!
With only one day, it is hard to tell what I think of German food. I can say that I struggled to find something to order from the menu. I was on beef overload from the previous few days in Prague, but was rescued when my friend spotted a salted herring dish. Seafood is not a mainstay in German cuisine, except for this salted fish. It was a young herring, so the fish was split and served whole overtop a sour cream based slaw (I think it had gherkin and apples?) with a side of parsley potatoes. Each ingredient on its own was not enjoyable. The fish was really salty, the potatoes a bit bland, and the cream sauce missing something. However, when all three components came together in one bite, it was heavenly. I am glad I got to try this instead of trying to find something more “traditional.” It was unique and definitely stuck out as something completely different from what I eat at home as well as what I ate on my trip. Plus, the salty fish paired perfectly with a big, German unfiltered beer! Can’t go to Germany without getting one of those, now, can you?
Full disclosure: I am still on vacation! I got home from Europe, did a few loads of laundry, and hopped in my dad’s car the next day to meet my mom and sister at our favorite beach. We are camping in Cape May, NJ for the week to celebrate my Mom’s 50th birthday. This again has left me away from the blogging world and the kitchen, but normal posts will return soon enough! Until then, another story from my trip!
Life in a beach town has a much different rhythm. You wake up with no alarm, check the heat and humidity on the front porch before deciding to go running, and lazily stroll to the market to get your food for the day. You stop at the bakery for fresh bread, a street-side stand for produce, a butcher for meat, and another stand for fish. Most places are open all morning, but the fish stand is only open from 7am-10am, which we found out the hard way on our first attempt. They have buckets on ice filled with the catch of the day, and they sell out each morning. I couldn’t tell you what any of the fish at the market were that day because their names were all in Croatian, but you basically could not make a poor choice. All of the fish looked very similar – some just a little longer or shorter, thinner or fatter. We chose 3 medium-sized fish, figuring it would be the perfect ratio for individual portions without the tiny, dangerous bones.
After a day on the beach, we made a pit stop at an Internet cafe to get a little background in fish filleting and cleaning. Seriously, what did one do before Google? I read about how to take off the scales, which fins to remove, and how to gut and wash the fish. With a basic plan of action in mind, we headed home to start on our feast.
I sat out under the outdoor shower, fish and a few
sharp knives in hand. Realizing I didn’t quite have the proper equipment, I began to improvise slightly. I used a dull knife to take off the scales, a slightly sharper knife to get the fins, and a spoon for the insides. I decided against taking the bones out, figuring I would end up with lump fish meat instead of fillets. I was more than a little grossed out and will admit to a few girly freak out moments, especially when I was under attack from a swarm of bees (who knew they liked meat?!) But I got the job done! I finished rinsing them off and carried them inside.
I cut up some lemon wheels and stuffed those with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs inside of the fish. I then created a bit of a steaming device – I put a larger frying pan on the bottom and covered it with a slightly smaller pan on top. I let the fish cook for a few minutes on each side, watching what was left of the skin melt away in my improvisational set up. Once the fish was flaky and white, I took it away from the heat. I cut off the head and tails, and served what looked like beautiful fillets of fresh fish!
Alongside, I mixed some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers together with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper for my take on a traditional Eastern European salad. I also steamed up some cauliflower, and Azra made her version of her mom’s potato salad (some raw white onions, cooked potato slices, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper). The dinner was fantastic! The fish was tender and flaky, and it was easy enough to avoid the bones. The lemon and herbs perfectly enhanced the flavor without overpowering anything. And our volumes of veggies on the side were a nice fresh addition, and were especially appreciated after a severe lack of veg in Bosnian cuisine (more to come on that!) We fully enjoyed our 4th of July fish feast, but it might be a long time before I am running to fillet fresh fish again. I am willing to try almost anything once when on vacation, though!