Yes, "Fish Tacos" may sound strange unless you're from California or other coastal/island cities. We just don't seem to have many of them around here in Michigan. However, during our honeymoon in Maui, The New Husband and I saw them all over the place and I made sure to try them at least once.
The first place was at Leilani's which was our first night in Maui. It was delicious! The second time, where we both had them, was at a "Jawz Island Style Fish Tacos" roadside wagon down by Makena beach. We hung out at the south-western Maui beaches a few days in a row and this particular day had worked up quite a hunger body boarding and these large tacos totally hit the spot. I never forgot how delicious they were and how it really just added to an already perfect day.
I tried making some fish tacos once we got home, and they were pretty good but I was hoping to find an official recipe online somewhere. It turns out fish tacos are made on the east coast frequently and they are totally different - deep fried cod! The Island Style fish taco is grilled Mahi Mahi or Tilapia and had island flavors to accompany it: fresh tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, lime, etc. The east coast version recipes looked totally different.
The other day, I got a hankering for fish tacos again, especially after looking through the honeymoon photos. I searched online again in hopes that a recipe had appeared recently and I happily came across a recipe which I used that night. I also came across reviews for Jawz, (not all great - some people in Cali really say their tacos are better), and a Jawz Fish Tacos website to refresh my memory on what we ordered from the road-side taco truck in Makena. The Island Style recipe looked pretty darned close, even with the red and green sauce... and "Island Style" is the same term Jawz uses. I was pretty excited to give the recipe a whirl.
I didn't follow the recipe to a T but what we came up with was awesome. The Husband said it was great, but couldn't remember if it was like our honeymoon meals... I thought it was pretty close but it has been a year and a half so who knows. Whether it's like Maui or not, this recipe is excellent.
Island Style Fish Tacos
with Creamy Garlic Dressing and Salsa Fresca
See here for the original recipe I found online.
Here is the recipe I used, with my personal changes noted.
1 lb of Mahi Mahi (made about 4 tacos, enough for 2-3 people)
Fresh (I only had dried) herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper
1 package of seasoned bell peppers and sweet corn (I bought this at Nino's just for a quick side and decided to add it into the taco, which tasted great. Just used canned corn (and cooked diced bell peppers or buy the can that already has those), and season with garlic, salt, pepper, and maybe cumin). Mexican or spanish style rice would also be a good "filler"
1 package sliced cabbage
1 lime cut into wedges
4 soft flour fajita-size tortillas
1 cup shredded white cheese - chihuahua or monterrey jack or mozzerella
1 Large Ripe Tomato, Finely Diced
¼ Round Onion, Diced
1 T Cilantro, Minced
1 Large Clove Of Garlic, Crushed
½ Green Bell Pepper, Minced (I later realized that I forgot this ingredient, oops!)
Chili Flakes, Pinch
Salt & Pepper
I didn't make the exact Garlic Dressing because I didn't want to buy buttermilk for something just myself wanted a tablespoon of... so here's what I did:
Quick Creamy Garlic Dressing
1 tbsp of mayonnaise
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp garlic powder (was too lazy to use blender so I didn't use fresh garlic)
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped fine
This sauce was a nice addition to the taco, though I bet the original recipe's sauce is better!
Chop the fish into bite-size cubes and place in a plastic bag with herbs/seasonings and olive oil. Put in fridge for an hour. Immediately start making the Salsa fresca - I used my mini-chopper and chopped all of the ingredients together, and then let sit in the fridge for an hour as well. Make sure to taste the salsa and add enough salt as needed.
While things are marinating, make the garlic sauce (or you can skip this if you don't like mayo like The Husband, and in a pinch regular tartar could work). I also put the cabbage into a bowl and added some cilantro and got out a lime to use to sprinkle on top at the end. I also heated up (microwave) the corn mixture, and this can be skipped or you could add rice for the taco.. all these combinations would be tasty.
After things have marinated, bring out the fish. I used my grill pan and grilled the fish until tender but cooked through. I warmed the tortillas in the microwave for a minute or so.
To assemble the tacos - just start layering the different ingredients on top of the tortilla. Fish, corn or rice, shredded cheese, cabbage, salsa fresca, garlic dressing, and garnish with a lime. Unlike the original recipe, I added shredded white cheese which I thought was definitely a must. Enjoy!
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Posted by Kitchen Bliss! at Tuesday, April 29, 2008