My history with Mexican food was always a heart stopper. Laden with gooey cheese and covered in sour cream, in my younger years, Mexican cuisine was a haven for excessive calories. Overeating mediocre nachos in college after one too many cocktails, long after the clock struck midnight, I thought that was real Mexican. You know those massive plates of nachos? A mountain of chips covered with a host of toppings. They’re still sinfully good, especially with a cold beer, but I’ve come to realize that most authentic Mexican recipes don’t even include melted cheese in their list of ingredients.
Time spent in southern California introduced me to the Mexican food I’ve come to crave. Full of fresh fish and lean meats, piled high with vegetables and absent the volcanic mess of cheese. Real Mexican food is an explosion of flavors and one of the healthiest meals I cook for my family.
I always serve these fish tacos with the same sides: warm corn tortillas, fresh sliced avocado, cilantro slaw, chipotle cream and wedges of fresh lime. This is an easy dinner to throw together during the week.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4 or so)
FOR THE FISH
- 1 1/2 lbs firm white fish like halibut or tilapia (about 3 or so filets depending on size)
- 2-3 tbsp of your favorite BBQ rub (here’s mine)
- Light drizzle of canola oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse the fish filets and pat them dry. Liberally sprinkle the BBQ rub on both sides of the fish. Lay them on a foil lined baking sheet (for easy clean-up). Drizzle the tops of the fish lightly with just a little canola oil before they go in the preheated oven and roast for about 15-20 minutes or until properly cooked through.
- Juice of one fresh lime
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 chipotle pepper from can of chipotle in adobo sauce, minced
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 14oz package shredded cabbage
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
To make the slaw, whisk together the first 5 ingredients in the bottom of a salad bowl. Add the shredded cabbage and chopped cilantro, season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss together.
- 2 fresh avocados, sliced
- Lime wedges
- 1 package small corn tortillas
Slice the avocados and place on a plate. Squeeze one of the lime wedges over the slices to prevent them from turning brown.
Heat the tortillas according to the package directions. I usually wrap a small stack in damp paper towels, put them on a plate and microwave for 30 seconds. Flip them over and zap for another 30 seconds. In reality, a proper serving should probably be 2 per person, but in our house it’s more like 3-4.
Place everything on the table and let everyone make their own tacos. You could serve fresh corn and charred pepper sauté as a side dish, and of course, some chips and salsa, too.