It's threatening to rain again, and weirdly I'm not craving slow cooked stews, or big bowls of chili. All I can think of is summer food, namely Baja-style fried fish tacos. If you've never had a fish taco the way they make them in Baja you don't know what you're missing.
Okay, admittedly I’ve never been to Baja. But taco stands that serve Baja style fish tacos are a staple in Southern California these days. I swear you can almost imagine yourself standing on the beach in San Felipe when you eat these. Served with an icy cold Mexican beer, there is nothing better.
FOR THE FISH 1 cup pale beer 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to tasteVegetable oil, for frying 1 pound boned, skinned white fish (cod, catfish, halibut) 24 warm corn tortillas 1/2 head shredded cabbage Lime wedges
FOR THE CHIPOTLE SAUCE ½ cup good mayonnaise 2 tablespoons milk 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder, or to taste
FOR THE PICO DE GALLO 3 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded, finely chopped 1/4 cup small white onion, finely chopped 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped 1 jalapeño, seeded, finely chopped Juice of 2 limes Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt and cayenne pepper. Whisk in the beer, blending well, making sure there are no lumps. Batter should be the consistency of thick pancake batter. Rinse fish and pat dry. Cut into 2-inch pieces.
Heat a large, heavy bottomed frying pan or Dutch oven with enough vegetable oil to create a 1-inch depth. Heat the oil over high heat to 375 degrees on a deep fry thermometer. Dip fish pieces in beer batter and lift out, draining briefly. Gently slide coated fish into oil, a few pieces at a time. Adjust heat to maintain oil temperature. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Remove fish to a paper towel-lined platter using a slotted spoon or Chinese strainer. Continue until all fish pieces have been fried. To assemble, stack two tortillas in your hand. Add a few pieces of fish, chipotle sauce, pico de gallo and top with shredded cabbage. Spritz with a squeeze of lime, fold in half and enjoy!
Private chef and cookbook author David Lawrence grew up in a house where the kitchen was always abuzz with activity. He learned early the simple pleasures of cooking and spent years assisting in his Mother’s kitchen, a woman he affectionately describes as a Martha Stewart incarnate, minus the chic poncho and clunky ankle bracelet! From then on David knew his mission was clear, he wanted to feed and entertain people.
David’s cookbook, Boy Eats World! A Private Chef Cooks Simple Gourmet, (Lake Isle Press) is all about having fun in the kitchen and demystifies cooking for the Atari generation. David’s humorous style and easy to follow recipes will help even the most timid cook feel like a kitchen rock star!