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Quick Fish Tacos with Baja Cream

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I have several magazine subscriptions and the ones that aren’t entirely devoted to food and recipes do include recipes and by the time I’ve gone through them, they are inevitably bristling with pieces of paper I’ve used to mark those I want to try and never do.  Every once in a while, however, a recipe jumps out at me and I can’t stop thinking about it until it has been made.

Enter the May edition of Everyday Food.  As soon as I saw these fish tacos on the cover, my heart began to sing.  They were so colorful and seemed a perfect spring/summer meal.  I had to make them.

I mostly followed the recipe except I did something a little different with the sour cream, using a recipe from my friend, Kitty, whom I owe a sincere thanks to.  It is the closest thing she’s found to the cream they serve on fish tacos in Baja California and while I wouldn’t have a clue as to whether it tasted the same or not since I’ve never been to California, I can attest that it is delicious on these tacos!

From start to finish, this meal was on the table in fifteen minutes.  So easy!  So simple!  So gorgeous!  So light!  So delicious!  I often forgo simple recipes like this, believing that the more time and effort and ingredients that is involved makes the end product that much better.  As this recipe proves, that’s not always the case.

Quick Fish Tacos
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 pound boneless, skinless tilapia fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper
12 corn tortillas
1/2 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 small white onion, finely chopped
lime wedges, for serving

Baja Cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lime peel
Pinch of salt

Heat broiler, with rack in highest position. Pat fish dry with paper towels and gently coat with oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Broil until fish is browned on top and flesh is opaque throughout, 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the Baja Cream ingredients together and set aside. Toast corn tortillas over a kitchen burner using tongs or wrap a stack of 6 at a time in damp paper towels and heat in the microwave for 40 seconds to 1 minute. Divide fish evenly among tortillas and top with cabbage, cilantro, and onion. Serve with Baja cream and lime wedges. SERVES 4.

Per serving (3 tacos): 440 cal; 14.9 g fat (4.2 g sat fat); 35.9 g protein; 42.8 g carb; 6.9 g fiber (NOTE: NUTRITIONAL STATS ARE BASED ON THE ORIGINAL RECIPE, WHICH ONLY USES 1/4 CUP OF SOUR CREAM. I know, who could possibly only use ONE teaspoon of sour cream on their taco?! I need at LEAST a tablespoon-hahahahaha!)

Recipe source: adapted from “Fish Tacos with Cabbage & Lime” from Everyday Food, May 2010

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Fish Tacos

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Back when I was preparing to make that Razzcherry Pie, I was browsing other recipes that included both raspberries and cherries in pie filling and ran across this one.  Minstrel Boy’s main blog theme is music but he also enjoys cooking (he’s a truffle maker too), so he puts up a recipe every now and again.  I questioned his method of refrigerating the pie two hours before baking and that started us chatting a little.  He saw my shrimp tacos blog and shared the link to his fish tacos.  I am always up for something new and although fish tacos aren’t exactly new to me, I’ve never had one where the fish was fried, or with cabbage, or with ranch dressing (particularly not with a ranch dressing this unique), so I figured I’d try them out.  They are the best I’ve had to date, so I thought I spread the word!

To make these tacos, you’ll need

Cod or some other meaty deepwater fish
Buttermilk
Fry coating: I used 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp garlic powder & 1/4 tsp. cayenne whisked together in a shallow bowl–you’ll need more if you’re making lots of fish
Queso fresca, crumbled (I used shredded cheddar b/c I’m a “gringo heathen”–lol)
Shredded cabbage
Diced tomato
Large 5-6″ corn tortillas (I had small ones and couldn’t fit much in them)
Good ranch dressing*
Lime wedges (optional)

Cut your fish into bite-sized chunks and soak them in buttermilk overnight.

Dump a bunch of oil in a skillet–about an inch high–enough to cover the fish once dumped in.  While it is heating to 360 degrees, remove your fish from the buttermilk and coat it with the flour mixture.  Once the oil is hot, put the fish in and enjoy the delicious smell of fish frying.   The fish will cool down the oil, so I turned it back up to high once it was in.  It didn’t take long–just a few minutes–remove once the fish is golden brown.  Let them drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Discard the oil.  No need to wipe out the skillet-you’ll be using it again soon.

Stack your tortillas five at a time and wrap in a damp paper towel, then microwave on high for 50 seconds.  Take them one at a time and put some fish chunks in, fold it over and put as many as will fit in your skillet.  Once the heated side is firm enough to hold it’s shape, turn over and repeat on the other side.  Once done, layer on the cheese, shredded cabbage and tomato, then “hose it down” with that good ranch dressing (*recipe below).  I also squirted some lime juice over mine and that was wonderful.

Minstrel Boy’s Good Ranch Dressing
1 packet Good Seasons instant Zesty Italian Mix (I used a generic Italian dressing mix)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
Mix & serve

I served mine with Green Rice  & some mixed vegetables.  It might sound strange, but this dressing (which is sooo wonderful, by the way–you’ll need to add more buttermilk if you actually intend to use the leftover for dressing b/c it’s thick like dip) tastes really good on top of green rice.  Try it!  Oh, and we used about three times as much dressing on the tacos as what is pictured–it was that good.

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