Classic Ensenada Fish Tacos

Fish TacosEaster South Of The Border
As you read this, it is entirely possible (and most likely) that I am pool-side, slathered in SPF 5000, and sucking down margaritas like water. If I am not, it is because I am stuffing my face with fish tacos, while sucking down margaritas like water.

Vacations are always fun and relaxing, but I think we are looking forward to this one even more. We are just that tired. (I am including the kids in that statement. After all of the standards testing, they’re just done.)

The five of us are looking forward to a week of great weather and doing absolutely nothing. Normally, when we plan a trip we all throw out ideas for activities. When asked what everyone wanted to do this time around, the overwhelming response was “drool”. I am so on board with that.

There may be a snorkeling trip along the way, and I am pretty sure there will be some jewelry shopping with my daughter, but one thing I know for certain is there will be good food. How do I know this? Because when you don’t give me your input or opinion on such matters, you do so at your own peril. I have made all of the reservations at the places I want to try!

¡Hasta la vista!, baby…

Classic Ensenada Fish Tacos
Adapted from Rick Bayless
Tacos de Pescado “Clasicos de Ensenada”
From Season 8, Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 12 tacos, enough to serve 4 people

2 garlic cloves, peeled
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon yellow mustard (like French’s)
1 teaspoon concentrated chicken base or chicken-flavor powdered bouillon
1 cup beer or sparkling water
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches for frying
1 pound boneless, skinless fish filets (almost anything will work, especially larger-flake, lighter-flavor fish such as halibut, sea bass, or grouper.)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream or heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup milk
12 warm corn tortillas
1 cup (or more) thinly sliced cabbage (I like Napa cabbage best)
About 1 cup salsa (mango salsa, toasted arbol chile salsa, roasted green chile salsa, roasted tomatillo salsa or even a Mexican hot sauce)
2 or 3 limes, cut into wedges

Peel and finely chop the garlic, sprinkle generously with salt, and mash with the side of your knife across your cutting board until it is crushed to a puree. Scrape the garlic into a medium bowl and add the oregano, black pepper, mustard, base or bouillon, beer or sparkling water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the flour and baking powder to the wet ingredients and whisk just until combined.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat or to 370 degrees. While the oil is heating, cut the fish into pieces about 3 inches long by about 1/2 inch square. Use a pair of tongs to pick up a piece of fish, dip it completely into the batter, and lay it into the oil. Continue with a few more pieces of fish, filling the hot oil with an uncrowded layer. Fry, turning the pieces regularly, until deep golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Test for doneness—the inside of the fish should no longer be translucent. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven on a wire rack set over a sheet pan while you fry the rest of the fish.

Mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream and milk. Set out with the cabbage, salsa, warm corn tortillas, limes and the crispy fish for everyone to make tacos.

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