We resume our journey through tomatillo hell with another use for tomatillo salsa: fish tacos. As many of the cooking programs I’ve seen lately have obligingly pointed out, the tomatillo is not the same as a green tomato and is actually a relative of the gooseberry. Like gooseberries, tomatillos come in a thin, papery husk which must be removed but leaves a sticky (and I think sometimes smelly) residue which should be washed before use.
Anyway, psuedo-education bit over with for this post, let’s talk about fish tacos. I don’t think I really had a Baja style fish taco until I moved to Utah. Those tacos, with soft fillets of firm, white fish, fried in a crunchy batter, sitting on a bed of cabbage and a drizzle of chipotle mayo, were oddly readily available all over Utah. In fact, I dearly miss one local fast food chain as it was almost entirely devoted to those yummy tacos.
As much as I love the Baja style tacos, I can’t get up the courage to make them at home. I may love deep fried foods, but can’t stand the idea of making them in my own home. Just the sheer thought of having that much hot oil combined with my accident-prone tendencies keeps me from expanding into the Fryolater food group. (Yes, even though we took a friend’s deep fryer off of their hands.)
So instead of frying, these fish tacos were made quickly by coating a piece of Alaskan True Cod with a mixture of Cajun spices then seared in a cast iron skillet. You still get the tender but firm fish meat plus the added bonus of the heat from the seasoning and not just from the salsa. The tacos had a slight sweetness from the corn tortillas, heat from the fish seasoning and salsa, all balanced by the acidity of the lime in the salsa and finished off with peppery, crisp radish slices. This is a great, fast cooking meal which adds a bit of sun, very important as we move into these blustery, rainy fall days.
- 1 lb piece Alaskan True Cod (line caught for extra earth friendliness)
- 2 tbsp Tony Checherie’s Cajun spice mix
- 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed
- 1 jalapeno, halved
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 2 garlic cloves
- juice of 1 lime
- splash of vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 6 corn tortillas
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- salt and pepper
Make the salsa by boiling the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapeno in a pot of water with a splash of vinegar for 10-12 minutes. Drain then pour contents into a food processor or blender. Add the honey and lime juice and puree. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.
Layout the radish slices on a plate and lightly salt.
Place the fillet of fish between paper towels to dry it off. Mix together the Cajun spice mix, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle over both sides of the fish to evenly coat with spices. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and lightly coat with oil. The pan should be really hot after about 5 minutes of heating. Cook the fish, being careful not to move it too early, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
Heat the tortillas in a dry skillet or over a gas stove flame for 15 seconds per side. Flake the fish meat, about 2-3 tbsp of meat per tortilla. Spoon some of the salsa on top and finish with radish slices. Garnish with lime wedges and fresh cilantro if you wish. You’ll also have plenty of salsa leftover, which can be used either for chips and salsa on the side or can be frozen for use in other dishes (as I ended up doing.)
CSA Count: 3
Tomatillos, jalapeno, radishes