I have been around long enough to know that being overseas, it pays to have a backup plan. with this in mind, i went to the store to do the shopping for this week’s meal. the sticking point: Salsa Verde. yeah, you can get it almost anywhere in the states. yeah, if your local grocery doesn’t have it, there is probably a mexican grocery somewhere near you that carries it. or some snotty store in the mall if all else fails. yes, there are options… however, i am constrained to this one store, this one set of choices when it comes to any non-oriental food items. so, i needed a backup plan. okay, says i, i will look for salsa verde… but, as i am skeptical as to it’s availability, i will have a plan, just in case you know… salsa verde isn’t all that complicated, i’ll just whip up a batch from scratch, easy peasy lemon squeezy… i saw last week that they have what i need to make it, no problem says i… so i look, every aisle of the place and of course, no big surprise, there is no salsa verde. as a matter of fact there is no variation in salsa whatsoever in their selection. oh, you can get chunky or smooth, mild or “hot” but its all that insipid pace picante style red salsa. none of the variants that i am so accustomed to, salsa verde being the least of which… no black bean salsa, no peach salsa, no salsa with corn, nothing but your plain salsa that might as well come out of a packet at taco bell. well, that’s fine, honestly unless i just plan on a quick night of kicking back with a few corn chips and a bit of dip, i always make my own anyway, even given the vast selection of a real grocery store. so, ok, fine. no salsa verde… i can cope. well, i thought i could. i started gathering the ingredients and lo and behold, although they had them last week and still had a sign up marking the price, there were no tomatillos to be had. they had thoughtfully filled the bin with heads of garlic, in addition to the other two bins filled with garlic. if the spaces are filled, the selection must be great right? well. so, plan A failed as expected and plan B turned out to just spite me. i spent a considerable amount of time trying to find any suitable sub for a base, no green tomatoes, no tomatillos, no nothing. i ended up finding some off brand of bottled green taco sauce and using that as a starting point. it wasn’t the same but when it comes down to it, what are you going to do? i guess the answer to that is suck it up for 9 more months and waste peoples time by bitching about it in a blog. that is the modern way, isn’t it.
ok, now that i got that out of my system, this week i decided to follow on to last week’s concept of meals that are in heavy rotation in our household. it feels like cheating because i can make these almost on autopilot, they are comfortable and they are comforting. and i could use a little comfortable. also, it gives me a chance to be a food emissary and introduce my dear friend eddie to some things he might not ever try otherwise. as it turns out, this was the first (but not the last he assures me) time he has ever had a grilled fish taco.
this is a recipe that i clipped out of bon appetit magazine, one that i instantly took a shine to when i read it. i believe it is from may of 2008 and since then we have made it on a fairly regular basis. its one of those meals that tastes much more complicated than it actually is. another advantage is that all the combining of the disparate ingredients is done tableside so it is very accommodating to picky eaters (yes i am looking at you christina). it takes a bit of prep ahead of time to start the fish marinating but once you are ready to eat, this one is on the plate withing about 20 minutes of starting in earnest. the recipe below calls for marinating the fish for about 30 minutes per side but i like to either start it first thing in the morning or the night before. it both gives the fish more time to absorb flavor and doesn’t fill up your afternoon with the prep. you can make it two distinct bodies of work, the prep for the marinade and then the final throw together and cooking of the rest. whenever you start the fish marinading, make up the lime mayonnaise at the same time. it only gets better chilling in the fridge for a few hours.
i served this simply with some refried beans topped with a bit of mixed mexican style cheese. to wash it down, michiladas was the order of the day. of course, a michilada finds it form with a dark mexican beer, negra modelo by my choice but being in korea, well, see above about the salsa verde, no need to flog the horse. we used corona and they turned out quite passable. it may have been the heat outside or the tastiness of the tacos, regardless, the beer went down smooth…
i was struck by eddie’s comments on this meal. he said that these experiences were having an impact on his families table. that in particular made alot of this seem worthwhile. an experience that isn’t shared is nowhere near as enjoyable. i am very pleased that these little rants and sunday feasts are having an impact and making an impression beyond keeping me fed for a day. makes me feel like i am doing something good. needless to say, the tacos were a big hit, no leftovers here.
grilled fish tacos
Bon Appétit | May 2008
2 cups Chopped white onion, divided
3/4 cup Chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1/4 cup Olive oil
5 tablespoons Fresh lime juice, divided
3 tablespoons Fresh orange juice
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 pound Tilapia, striped bass, or sturgeon fillets
Coarse kosher salt
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Milk
2 Avocados, peeled, pitted, sliced
1/2 Small head of cabbage, cored, thinly sliced
Stir 1 cup onion, 1/4 cup cilantro, oil, 3 tablespoons lime juice, orange juice, garlic, and oregano in medium bowl. Sprinkle fish with coarse salt and pepper. Spread half of onion mixture over bottom of 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange fish atop onion mixture. Spoon remaining onion mixture over fish. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Turn fish; cover and chill 30 minutes longer. Whisk mayonnaise, milk, and remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice in small bowl.
Brush grill grate with oil; prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill fish with some marinade still clinging until just opaque in center, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Grill tortillas until slightly charred, about 10 seconds per side.
Coarsely chop fish; place on platter. Serve with lime mayonnaise, tortillas, remaining 1 cup chopped onion, remaining 1/2 cup cilantro, avocados, cabbage, Salsa Verde, and lime wedges.
The pictures didn’t turn out that great this week, sorry about that… all credit for the above goes to Bon Appetit, if reposting the recipe is a violation of any sort, please let me know and i will remove it. it’s a great recipe that everyone needs to make at least once however…
Next week may prove interesting. i am trying to decide what to make as a treat for myself. someone is having a birthday 🙂