Today’s Special

Fish tacos make a fast, fresh, uncomplicated treat


Main dish

Tacos de Pescado (Fish Tacos)

About 16 saltines

1 large egg

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

1 pound skinless boneless grouper, mahi-mahi, snapper or other firm white fish, cut into 3/4-inch chunks

Vegetable or canola oil for frying

12 6-inch corn tortillas

1/2 head shredded cabbage (red or green) or romaine lettuce

Salsa (housemade or favorite jarred variety)

Mexican tartar sauce (recipe below)

Lime wedges for garnish

Avocado slices for garnish

Pulse the saltines in a blender until you have a mixture of fine and slightly coarse crumbs. Crack the egg into a medium bowl. Add the salt, pepper and oregano, and beat well. Add the fish to the egg mixture and toss to coat.

Lift the fish from the egg mixture, letting any excess drip back into the bowl, then add the fish to the crumbs and toss by hand, pressing the fish gently to make sure each piece is coated. Transfer the breaded fish to a plate.

Pour 3 inches of oil into a Dutch oven or medium pot and heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees. Working in batches, fry the fish until the outside is golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels.

Top warm tortillas with the fish. Top each with shredded cabbage or romaine lettuce, and generous spoonfuls of salsa and Mexican tartar sauce. Garnish with lime wedges and sliced avocado. Serves four.

Per serving: 327 calories (12 percent from fat), 4.6 g fat (.8 g saturated, 1.0 g monounsaturated), 83 mg cholesterol, 28.5 g protein, 47.0g carbohydrate, 7.3 g fiber, 690 mg sodium.


Mexican Tartar Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup drained and finely chopped dill pickles

3 tablespoons drained and finely chopped canned pickled jalapeños

2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt to taste

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and stir until everything is well distributed. Makes 1 cup. Sauce keeps, covered and refrigerated, for up to two days.

Per 1 tablespoon serving: 52 calories (94 percent from fat), 5.5 g fat (0.8 g saturated, 1.3 g monounsaturated), 2.6 mg cholesterol, 0 g protein, 0.6 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 70 mg sodium.

Source: Fish tacos and tartar sauce recipes adapted from “ Tacos, Tortas and Tamales” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $23.99).

Tacos are the epitome of Mexican cuisine to most Americans. What could be better than meat or fish, spicy salsa, and the taste of cold sour cream combined in a neat little corn tortilla package?

These delights are fast and uncomplicated, and the ingredients are as close as your supermarket. Tacos are extremely versatile and can be served as appetizers, accompaniments or entrees at breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Almost anything can fill a tacos these days — grilled tuna, shrimp, lobster and vegetables of all sorts, you name it. With all these choices, an infinite number of taco variations are possible. In some restaurants you might even find tacos filled with foie gras and duck confit. Around the country, a new generation of food trucks has customers lining up for sizzling Korean-Mexican taco combinations.

On Cinco de Mayo, a day when Mexicans and Anglos alike celebrate the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, why not celebrate Mexican food and culture with a taco bar? Set your buffet with platters of warm tortillas, grilled meats, fish or vegetables, and an assortment of toppings like guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese, green chile peppers, chopped onions, cilantro, limes and sour cream.

To quickly warm tortillas, place a dozen on a microwave-safe dish and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for one minute. Leftover tortillas can be stored in a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Figure on two cold Mexican-style beers per person — or more.

Carole Kotkin is manager of the Ocean Reef Club cooking school.

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