I. Love. This. Recipe. I really, really do.
As you may remember, I’ve been trying to adapt to a more pescetarian diet during the week. So far, I think I’ve done exceptionally well. When I go out to eat, I ignore all carnivorous options and try to order more veggies. As a result, I feel wonderful. I realize this might be entirely psychological, but whatever, I’m going with it. This newfound lifestyle doesn’t just apply to eating out. I have only cooked vegetarian or seafood meals from Monday to Friday.
Last week John and I discovered a new-to-us seafood market. To get a better feel for the quality of seafood they sell, we purchased a little of this, a little of that. First up: cod.
I immediately thought about making fish tacos. It’s almost summer here in the city (hello, 70-degree weather!), and this seemed like the perfect lightweight meal to ring in the new season. Most recipes for fish tacos require the fish to be fried. While that would be absolutely delish, it’s less figure friendly than I would like. Therefore, we sautéed our fish in a little butter and olive oil and called it a day.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s one of the most beautiful (and tastiest) dishes we’ve enjoyed in a while!
Pico de gallo is really quite simple to make and can add flavor to an otherwise uninteresting dish. The most time-consuming part is dicing the tomatoes. First, you’ll need to remove the seeds. While this is not a difficult process, it does take a bit of time.
Using a serrated knife (I think it’s easier than a chef’s knife here), slice tomatoes in half, length-wise.
Then, slice each tomato is half again. Carefully run your knife under the seeds to filet the tomato. The end result should look like this:
Dice into small pieces.
Peel and dice half of a small red onion (switch back to a chef’s knife now).
And also a jalapeno. If you want some extra heat, feel free to leave the membrane and seeds inside. If that scares you, dice the jalapeno in the same was as you did the tomatoes.
Combine the tomatoes, red onion, and jalapaño in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of 1 fresh lime on top, toss in some fresh chopped cilantro (as much or as little as you like), then add maybe ½ teaspoon of kosher salt.
Perfect! (You could certainly make this ahead of time and leave it in the fridge to cut down on prep time.)
Next, I made a little tartar sauce. Didn’t take pictures. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, sour cream, sweet pickle relish, cilantro, and lime juice. Voila! (This keeps the taco moist. Again, can be made ahead.)
I’ve frequently seen the addition of fruit served with fish. Strawberry or mango salsas are most common. I thought that orange would be a lovely addition, so… that’s what I went for.
Segmenting fruit is one of my favorite things to do. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I find it to be incredibly relaxing, and it allows my perfectionist-self to strive for, well… perfection. When I worked in the restaurant, if my segments weren’t perfect, the chef would make me redo them. I don’t like having to do things twice. Needless to say, I mastered this pretty quickly.
Lop off both ends of the orange so it will sit flat on the cutting board.
Carefully run your knife from the top to the bottom of the orange in small sections. The goal is to remove the peel without cutting into the juicy part of the orange.
Hold the remaining orange in your hand and carefully use your knife to cut between the membranes and free each orange suprême. (*Note: might be best to switch to a pairing knife is this is your first time segmenting fruit.)
Yes, your cutting board will be covered in orange juice, but after one or two oranges you’ll get the hang of it. Feel free to squeeze the leftover orange into a glass for some super fresh oj!
Alright, let’s move onto the fish: combine flour, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Season with ½ tablespoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
The cayenne gives the fish a much-needed kick. Don’t skimp.
We used cod, but in retrospect we would probably have chosen a different fish for this application if we thought in advance about our cooking process. Cod is extremely flaky and is best (in my opinion) when fried. Sautéing it in a Dutch oven is a recipe for cod to fall apart. While it was very tasty, I would suggest using other mild, white fish such as mahi mahi, swordfish, tilapia, halibut, or bass in the future.
Cut fish into small strips.
Toss in flour mixture.
Sauté in a large Dutch oven with ½ tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter until just cooked through, about 3-5 minutes over medium heat.
FINALLY, we can assemble our tacos!
Grab a tortilla (we prefer corn here), spoon on some cilantro tartar sauce, and add some cod. Top with pico de gallo, some shredded red cabbage, thinly sliced avocado, orange segments, and a sprinkle of cotija cheese.
You can’t look at this and honestly tell me you’re not drooling.
Feel free to add other goodies: more cilantro, chopped lettuce or endive in place of cabbage, different fruit (I LOVED this addition of orange… John preferred it without).
Gorgeous. Tasty. Healthy. What more could you want in a dinner?
Yields: 4-6 servings
Time: 30-45 minutes
For the pico de gallo:
- 6 roma tomatoes
- ½ small red onion
- 1 jalapaño
- Juice of 1 lime
- ½ – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the cilantro tartar sauce:
- ½ cup sour cream (reduced fat)
- ¼ cup mayo (reduced fat)
- 1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice of ½ lime
- 2 oranges, cut into segments
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb cod (or other white fish)
- Corn tortillas
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 small head of red cabbage
- Cotija cheese
P.S. Don’t be overwhelmed by the list of ingredients. A lot of items overlap, and besides, it’s totally worth it.
- For the pico de gallo: Add diced tomatoes, red onion, and jalapaño in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of 1 fresh lime on top, toss in some fresh chopped cilantro (as much or as little as you like), then add maybe ½ teaspoon of kosher salt.
- For the cilantro tartar sauce: In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, sour cream, sweet pickle relish, cilantro, and lime juice.
- For the fish: Combine flour, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Season with ½ tablespoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
- Cut fish into small strips. Toss in flour mixture.
- Sauté in a large Dutch oven with ½ tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter until just cooked through, about 3-5 minutes over medium heat.
- To serve: Grab a tortilla (we prefer corn here), spoon on some cilantro tartar sauce, and add some cod. Top with pico de gallo, some shredded red cabbage, thinly sliced avocado, orange segments, and a sprinkle of cotija cheese.