A few weeks ago, I was on the phone, chatting it up with my parents and I mentioned that I was in the midst of preparing dinner. They wanted to see some pictures, so I obliged, the next day.
Here’s an excerpt from the e-mail that I sent, along with some photos.
Note: I mention swai and tilapia in the message. The two types of fish have become very common in grocery stores across the U.S., and maybe the rest of the world. They are not the same fish, as some might think.
Okay, on to dinner…
The fish was Swai, which is some sort of large white fish…maybe it’s like Tilapia, the other white fish that is so ubiquitous in grocery stores nowadays. I dusted the fish and shrimp with cumin and cayenne powder and pan fried them for a few minutes.
The accoutrements were guacamole, sliced red onion, mango, a salad consisting of chopped Romaine lettuce, bell pepper and green onion, and a creamy sauce that contained mayonnaise, sour cream, cocktail sauce, hot sauce, garlic salt and a dash of Maggi seasoning. If you haven’t used Maggi seasoning, it’s worth trying…it’s like concentrated soy sauce, sort of. A little bit goes a long way! All of this was loaded into a burrito-sized flour tortilla.
You’ll probably notice the chilis with the seafood. Fear not! Nobody ate these. They were strictly ornamental, although I considered eating the habaneros, but I knew I needed to hit the sack within an hour after dinner and I didn’t want to sleep with spicy chilis in me.
Alrighty, there you have it. I wish you could have been here to join in the fun!
I wanted to jump right into this fish taco recipe but I couldn’t resist the urge to discuss the phenomena that is Tilapia.
Tilapia is a freshwater fish that describes dozens of types of fish. If I was an ichthyologist I might be able to go into greater detail about the different types of fish that fall under the umbrella of “tilapia” but my interest lies elsewhere.
What intrigues me is the fact that tilapia have become a predominant food source in a very short period of time. Tilapia have rapidly become one of the most consumed fish in the United States. It is also popular across the globe, due to low production cost.
Tilapia are easily farmed. They are not carnivorous, which make them less expensive to raise than salmon or trout. They mature quickly, which leads to quick harvesting and, they can endure living in close proximity to each other. All of these qualities make them desirable for aquaculture.
I don’t know where I’m going with all of this except to say that I was really curious about the sudden popularity of tilapia and I thought others might be, too. So, before I totally kill the mood and start making allusions to Soylent Green, let’s make some fish tacos…
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 large, or 2 medium sized jalapeños, thinly sliced or shredded
3 scallions (green onions), green portion diced and white portion thinly sliced
½ cup vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs sugar
1 avocado, sliced
1 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of garlic salt
6 to 8 small russet potatoes
¾ lb fresh tilapia filets
¼ cup flour
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbs cornstarch
12 corn tortillas
In a large skillet, add 1 cup cooking oil. Set heat to low.
Add the shredded carrot, sliced jalapeño and the sliced scallion root to a mixing bowl. Stir to mix. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and sugar. Set aside for 20 minutes.
Peel and slice the avocado. Squirt some lemon juice over the sliced avocado and sprinkle with a little garlic salt.
Scrub the potatoes under cool running water. Dry the potatoes with a paper towel. Cut potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Add potatoes to the skillet and adjust the heat to medium/high. Stir the potatoes after 1 minute and adjust the heat to medium. Leave the potatoes alone for 15 minutes.
Arrange the fish filets on a paper towel-lined plate.
Spread ¼ cup flour over a large plate. Scatter the cumin, chili powder and garlic powder over the flour.
Dust each side of the fish with a scant amount of cornstarch.
Strain the pickled vegetables and discard the vinegar mixture. Put the shredded vegetables in a bowl and keep handy.
Stir the potatoes a few times and strain the oil, once the potatoes have crisped. Store the potatoes in a bowl, in a warm place.
Return the oil to the pan and set the heat to medium. Soften the corn tortillas in the hot oil. Remove the tortillas and store in a warm place.
Crack an egg over a large plate. Lightly whisk with a fork.
Create a dredging station with the fish, egg and flour. Take a piece of fish and dip both sides in the egg. Lay the fish in the flour mixture and shake off any loose flour. Lay the fish in the hot skillet.
Fry the fish for about two minutes and then turn the fish over, with a large spatula. Fry for another two minutes and turn the fish again. Fry for another minute and remove the fish to a paper towel-lined plate.
Slice the fish in bite sized pieces.
Assemble the tacos. I like to use two tortillas per taco but one is perfectly fine, too. Add avocado slices, pickled vegetables and fish.
Top with cilantro and green onion and serve with home fries.