Sunday, March 23, 2014

Crunchy Corn Meal Coated Tilapia Taco

If you have not yet tried a fish taco and you think it sounds a little strange, try these and I am certain that you will become a fan! This technique is also a great way to incorporate more fish into the weekly dinner rotation and, because they are so similar to fried chicken tenders, chances are your kids will like them too!

Fish tacos are frequently topped with crunchy cabbage and thinly sliced red onion. The combination of the texture of the cabbage and bite of the onion is a great combination with the fried fish. I thinly shredded 1/2 cabbage and added it to a bowl with 1/2 red onion, also sliced thin. In addition, I made a batch of roasted tomato, onion and garlic and serrano pepper salsa.  Simply cut vegetables into half or quarters depending on their size and place them on a foil lined baking sheet.  Season with a little canola oil, salt and pepper and place under the broil until they are soft and charred on the edges.  Let cool until easily handled and place them in a food processor with fresh lime juice, salt and cilantro.  Process until well incorporated. 
For the star of the fish tacos, the fish, I used a tilapia filet which works perfectly here because it is a mild, firm, white fish, but if you have another you prefer such as cod, grouper or even catfish, feel free to substitute. I set up a breading station with flour, 1 beaten egg and corn meal/flour. Tilapia filets have a natural score down the middle which makes them easy to cut in half creating a more manageable "fish finger" to fry. Dredge each fish finger in the flour, then dunk in the beaten egg, and finally coat each piece with the cornmeal/flour. Fry in about an inch or two of hot oil for about 5 minutes or so on each side or until they are golden brown and crispy. Drain on a paper towel and immediately season with sea salt.

When it is time to assemble the tacos, warm a flour tortilla over a gas burner set to low until warm, or in a dry warm frying pan. Place the crispy fried fish on the flour tortilla and top with the cabbage, red onion and salsa. A dollop of sour cream finishes it off.

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