dinner No. 1: fish tacos

By Monday, March 15, 2010 , , , , , ,

Panko-crusted American farm-raised tilapia tacos with avocado crema and a black-bean salad

Fish Tacos
You can pretty much use any fish you’d like for this. I love whole-wheat panko, but for some reason the crumbs are a bit more robust in size that the white panko, so I crush them ever-so-slightly for more uniformity when coating.

Serves 2 adults and 2 hungry bambinos

4 tilapia fillets
¼ cup flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk (preferably whole or 2%)
¾ cup whole-wheat panko (slightly pulverized with a rolling pin)
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8-10 corn tortillas (heated just before dinner in oven or microwave)
Optional (but yummy) garnishes: sliced radishes, microgreens or sprouts, cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a Ziploc bag, add flour and a generous pinch of salt. In another Ziploc bag, add panko and gently roll with a rolling pin a few times to break of the really big pieces of panko. In a flat dish, whisk the egg and milk together, season with a pinch salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

Season each fillet with salt and pepper and place in the flour bag, shaking it gently to evenly coat the fillets. Dunk each fillet in the egg mixture and then one at a time shake in the panko. Place coated fillets on a plate while you coat the rest.

Preheat a large skillet. Add olive oil and when hot add two fillets. Cook 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Flip carefully and cook an additional 3 minutes. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and pop into the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining fillets. Serve immediately in warm corn tortillas or keep warm in the oven while you prep the other components.
Avocado crema
In our house, avocado is king. Click here for a mind-blowing list of stats on why avocado is oh-so-good for you. This creamy fruit is loaded with fiber, filled with good fat and packed with B vitamins.

1 avocado, ripe as hell
½ cup sour cream or Mexican crema
Zest and juice of half of a lime (zest first, juice second)
1-2 tablespoons tap water
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Few grinds of black pepper

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add all of the ingredients. Pulse a few times to get things going and then process until smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning; add more salt, lime juice, cumin as needed.

Black-bean salad
This recipe is great because it can be changed to what you have in the pantry and to what cuisine you are cooking. This version is great with Mexican, Latin and Tex Mex flavors. It’s simple and easy to execute. Enough said.

15 oz. of cooked black beans, either canned or homemade, rinsed and drained
1 small red onion, finely diced – rinsed in cold water for a few minute and drained
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon fruity olive oil
Kosher of raw vegetable of your choice: halved grape tomatoes, diced cucumber, chopped roasted red peppers, grated carrot
Cilantro, a large handful, chopped

In a large bowl, add the onion, the lime juice and a large pinch of salt. Stir to combine. This will slightly “pickle” the onion and kill some of oniony-ness. Prep everything else and then add to the bowl, stirring to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Note: if you are making this a day ahead, don’t add the cilantro until right before serving.

Happy eating, -s.

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