White fish has never been my favorite. I’m talking about cod, hake, halibut pollock and other bland tasting types of fish. Sure, you can cut them up into pieces and make fish sticks or imitation crabmeat out of them. Better yet, batter them up, fry ‘em and serve them in a basket of fish and chips, drenched with a ton of red wine vinegar. I’ll be a fairly happy lad if you do that. (“Fairly” being the key word here.) Even so, I’d take a piece of meaty salmon, farmed or wild, or fresh tuna over a fillet of boring, dry white fish any day of the week.
That being said, I’ve found a kind of beauty in the hitherto not very interesting white fish. This beauty, at least for me, appeared with the advent of the exceptionally tasty fish taco. As far as I’m concerned, fish tacos saved most white fish (along with a good ol’ basket of oily fish and chips) from being regulated into a dank and miserable corner of the global culinary basement.
Fish tacos, for the uninitiated, are not just fish stuffed into a hard taco shell, and then smother in refried beans and salsa. These heavenly creations (yes, I used that word “heavenly,” and I’m not ashamed) are more elegant than a standard fast food taco. Soft and warm tortillas, with a variety of creative salsas thrown into the mix (mango salsa being the best in my opinion), a lime guacamole, fresh cabbage, a decent white fish, some grilled peppers or other veggies and a few additional ingredients can transform a fillet of humdrum white fish into something worthy of your gullet.
Just to whet your appetite, here’s a basic recipe for mango salsa, as well as a simple fish taco:
2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1-2 limes, juiced
Half of a small cucumber, chopped
1 tomatoes, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopper
1/3 red onion, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh cilantro, to taste
Combine and stir all of the ingredients, except the salt and pepper, into an appropriately sized bowl. When finished, season the salsa with salt and pepper, to taste.
As for the simple fish taco recipe, there are a variety of ways you can approach it. You’ll need tortillas, and a firm white fish, of course. Then you have to decide if you want to bake, grill or fry your fish, and just how you’d like to coat it. Lime juice with olive or vegetable oil is often good way to go, or a light chili powder rub. You can also go in for a lime sauce, which is a mixture of chipotle, garlic, lime juice, mayonnaise, and yogurt.
You’ll need to heat your tortillas in the oven or a microwave, and then once the fish is cooked, and the salsa, lime guacamole and other garnishes (be creative) are prepared, all you have to do is assemble the damn thing.
What did I tell you? Fish tacos are the savior of white fish, turning an otherwise bland piece of ocean protein into a sexy meal, spicing up the typical food you feed your palate and breathing new life into your hake, halibut pollock, and other white fish.