>> Monday, August 29, 2011
It’s amazing how frozen food stuffs can pile up in the freezer. At one point we were finding it hard to fit in ice cube trays because there was so much of everything in there. I’m not talking about frozen dinners or prepackaged food. Our freezer was filled with items we bought for the week but weren’t able to get through. Somehow this just kept on for weeks until finally we decided something had to be done. Mission clear the freezer started. First went the chicken, followed by meats of all sorts and then there was the fish and seafood.
Having had really delicious seafood all over the world especially in areas that are fortunate enough to be right by the ocean, frozen fish has never really done it for me (frozen anything actually unless it’s meant to be that way…like ice cream). Sometimes you just have to work with what you got and for a land locked Alberta, sometimes frozen fish is all you’ve got (I’m still trying to find a good fishmonger so let me know if you have a good contact).
It can be difficult to make good fish recipes with frozen fish because the texture of the fillets might not hold up well to the method of cooking used. Frying for example could be difficult on frozen fish if you don’t let it thaw out correctly and remove all the moisture from the fish. I couldn’t imagine trying to batter really wet soggy fish. Therefore the usual cooking technique that I apply to frozen fish is by steaming. Adding some soy sauce, green onions, ginger and calling it a day (think Chinese restaurant style).
However, when I read the package and realized I had defrosted some frozen basa fillets, I decided it might be fun to play up the recipe a bit. Plus, I realized I had some left over cabbage and yogurt lying around, nothing like clearing out the whole fridge while you’re at it. So I decided to make some basa fish tacos for the evening.
Since there are several steps in this recipe, instead of the usual way of pan searing the fish (or deep frying which is not exactly the healthiest way to enjoy the fish, plus I find that you lose some of the flavours through frying), I decided that I’d use the oven. This allowed me to set it and forget it so to speak, giving me some time to prep everything else that was required. This recipe seems like a lot, but in actuality only took me a total of 30 mins before everything was ready on the table. So don't let the steps fool you, it really is a quick and tasty recipe!
Fish Marinade Ingredients: 2 Frozen basa fish fillets
2 tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper
Fish Preparation: Defrost the frozen basa fillets overnight in the fridge.
Once the fish has defrosted, rinse them quickly and dry off both fillets. Place them in a shallow baking dish and sprinkly on the chili powder, salt and pepper. Lightly squeeze on some lime juice over each fillet.
Do this to both sides of the fish. Cover and let it marinate in the fridge for 15-30 mins while you prep the sauce and fixings.
When ready to cook the fish, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place the fish in the oven for 13-15 mins or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Coleslaw Ingredients: 1/2 green cabbage
3 medium sized carrots
1/2 medium sized onion
3 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Coleslaw Preparation: Cut the cabbage, onion and carrots in to thin slices (or put the carrots through a mandolin).
In a small bowl mix together the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour it over the cabbage slaw and let it marinate for 15 mins.
Yogurt Sauce Ingredients: 1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp light mayonnaise
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
Salt and pepper
Tabasco sauce (optional)
Yogurt Sauce Preparation: In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, mayonnaise, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper to taste. Add in a few dashes of the tabasco sauce for some extra spiciness (I enjoy my tacos a bit spicier. If you’re not sure what level of spiciness your guests can handle. You can also leave the tabasco off to the side and have them add it directly to their tacos instead).
Once all the ingredients are fully mixed, cover it with saran wrap and let all the flavours meld together before serving in tacos.
I love making everything from scratch and decided that I would also try making the corn tortilla wrappers (I recently found a Mexican food store and got me some masa!). So here’s a quick recipe if you’re curious. They were super quick and tasty, better than having to drive to the grocery store!
Corn Tortilla Ingredients: 1 cup masa (ground up corn flour)
2/3 cup water
Corn Tortilla Preparation: In a medium sized mixing bowl, measure our the masa and add in the water until the dough starts to come together. If there is left over masa in the bowl, add a bit of water one tbsp at a time until all the extra masa is picked up.
You don’t want to add too much water or else the dough will be too sticky and won’t form a nice textured tortilla.
Once ready, pinch off a small ball of the dough, roll it in to a small circle.
Place the small circle of dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it flat using a rolling pin. The parchment prevents the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. You might have to cut off the excess dough to form a round tortilla. Do so with a small paring knife.
If you have a tortilla press, then you’re set. Place the dough in the press and you’ll get a perfect round tortilla every time.
Heat up a small skillet on the stove to medium. Put each rolled out tortilla on the skillet for roughly 30 secs a side and remove.
Cover cooked tortillas with a cloth to keep them warm until ready to serve.
To Serve Tacos: Place several small chunks of the fish on to the middle of the tortilla, top with slaw, yogurt sauce and a bit of Tabasco.
Wrap and enjoy!