I firmly believe there are some foods that just taste like a season (Autumn = Pumpkin Spice Lattes; Spring = Peeps, etc). Well, I think Summer = Fish Tacos. Every time I eat one, I think when I open my eyes I’ll be magically transported to a place where it’s okay to wear a see-through dress in public and ice cream is mandatory at least once a day. I really like Summer. I miss it so much, guys. (The heat in the dorms just kicked in, there’s a quilt on my bed. It’s cozy, but I’m just not loving it as much as I love sundresses.) Hence this post. So now recipe info: you really can use whatever fish you like here. I love being unhealthy when I get the chance, so I really went for it with the batter and the frying, but feel free to get snazzy with rubs/seasonings instead of batter and grill/bake/sauté the fish instead of cooking it in a bunch of oil (even though it is vegetable oil). Also the white sauce here is a must. For some reason it really makes the fish tacos fish tacos (this is a real sentence, I did not type fish tacos twice by accident). It’s kinda like tzatziki with a twist. Also for some reason I find the name “white sauce” really gross…even though it is delicious in taste. So if you find it gross too, don’t be alarmed! It’s worth it!
Fish (from the Barefoot Contessa)
– 1 1/2 pounds fresh cod fillets, cut into 1 1/2 by 3-inch pieces
– Salt and pepper
– 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
– 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
– 1/2 tsp lemon zest
– 1/2 cup water
– 1 egg
– Vegetable oil (for frying)
Lay the cod fillets on a cutting board. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Whisk in 1/2 cup of water and then the egg. Pour 1/2-inch of oil into a large frying pan and heat it to about 360 degrees F (I don’t have a thermometer, so a good way to test this is to flick a little water into the oil; if it starts to bubble, you’re most likely good to go).
Dip each fillet into the batter, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Place it very carefully into the hot oil. Don’t crowd the pieces. Adjust the heat as needed to keep the oil between 360 and 400 degrees F. Cook the fish on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Note: if you’re using a nonstick pan, it’s highly unlikely that the fish will get a beautiful golden color like Ina Garten’s has in the picture in your cookbook and you will probably get really frustrated and almost start crying in front of all the normal people you invited over for dinner and you’ll think you’re a horrible chef who can’t do anything right. You’re not. You just need a normal frying pan. Not that this happened to me or anything..
White Sauce (adapted from allrecipes.com)
– 1/4 cup plain yogurt
– 1/4 cup nonfat sour cream
– the juice of one lime (about 2 tbsp.)
– 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
– 1/2 tsp. cumin
– 1/2 tsp. dried dill
– pinch cayenne pepper
– pinch chili powder
Combine all in a bowl and stir to combine. Adjust spices according to your taste.
– Mini flour tortillas (I like these)
– shredded fresh cabbage
– guacamole (my recipe here)
– salsa or pico de gallo
Slap it all together and you’re good to go! Yum.