Ciao Down Fish Tacos

I didn’t know I loved fish tacos until only a few months ago.  I met some friends at Cascal, and we ordered several small plates, and after I had one of the fish tacos with a cucumber and jalapeño margarita, and that’s all she wrote —  that’s all I wanted the rest of the evening.

LOVE these– my first attempt — easy to make and paired with the Italian salsa (yeah — I know — ITALIAN-Y!! Check out the capers!) and the infamous La Vic orange sauce, they  made me feel very Mexi-Italian.  This recipe goes nearly to the top of my faves.

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PICO DE GALLO:

  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes, not overly ripe, medium dice
  • 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced small (about 1/2 cup)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

FISH TACOS:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup medium ground semolina flour (super important to the recipe because it makes the batter crunchy after the fish is cooked)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bottle lager beer
  • Canola oil, for frying (you’ll need at least 4 to 8 cups)
  • 2 pounds tilapia or cod cut into small finger size pieces (otherwise they won’t fit in the tortilla!)
  • Twelve 4-inch soft corn tortillas or smallest size available
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce, for serving
  • 1 avocado, sliced, for serving
  • Lemon wedges for serving

DIRECTIONS

For the pico de gallo: Mix together the tomatoes, capers, olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro and onions in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
For the fish tacos: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the flour, semolina flour, baking powder, sea salt and some pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the beer and set aside. 

Add enough canola oil to a large cast-iron or other low-sided skillet to come halfway up the sides. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F. (Use a deep fry thermometer to be sure – or do it the grandma way and add a piece of bread to see if it fries and browns – if it does, it’s ready). 

Slice the tilapia into 1/2-inch strips or “finger”-size pieces. 

When the oil is hot, dip each piece of tilapia into the batter using tongs, allowing excess to drip off. Carefully add to the hot oil one piece at a time. Fry in batches until golden brown and the fish is cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon or skimmer and drain on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. 

Meanwhile, warm the tortillas by wrapping them in foil and placing them in the oven for 10 minutes. To serve, place one piece of fish on a warmed tortilla. Top with shredded lettuce and an avocado slice. Serve with a lemon wedge, and pico de gallo.
From Gabriele Corcos
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