So, lack of planning notwithstanding, I am technically still on track with my Project.
I cut it pretty close though, so, you know, feel free to tell me to get it together.
As I wandered around the grocery store Friday morning, pondering that immortal and universal conundrum (“What’s for dinner?!?”), it occurred to me that fish tacos might be an excellent way to eat some fish without actually having to taste the fish.
Baby steps. Don’t judge me.
So I headed over to the seafood counter where the sole happened to look fresh and pleasingly non-threatening, and also happened to fall under the category “ocean fish” which I still had yet to conquer. So I bought some.
Then I began the mad dash of grabbing everything else that I needed so I could get home before the sole got warm and fishy!
Like I said, planning ahead is not my forte.
The preparation of said fish tacos didn’t really involve anything I haven’t done here before, so I’ll spare you a long dissertation (complete with far too many photos) and just give you a quick rundown on the process!
Begin by making my very favorite, go-to Tangy Limey Coleslaw (http://phobicfoodie.com/2011/07/17/big-messy-chili-tacos/), and a batch of the ever delicious, never-fail Super Hot Chipotle Sauce (find the recipe here: http://phobicfoodie.com/2011/05/18/spicy-chipotle-black-bean-soup/).
If you do this, make the coleslaw first and let it sit out while you make everything else.
Rub some of the sauce all over the sole. This accomplishes two things: it imparts amazing flavor and a little bit of heat into the fish, and it also gives you a chance to really feel it up and make sure there aren’t any stowaway bones still lurking in the filets.
Here’s where I should have set the fish in the fridge and let the sauce really marinate in, but I didn’t. I went straight ahead and coated all the filets generously in salted cornstarch.
Now let’s talk about the cornstarch.
I love using it to coat foods that I plan to pan fry, or stir fry. It gives a lovely, crispy coating and fries up so beautifully! Plus, it sticks well so you don’t have to worry about it falling off like breadcrumbs are prone to.
The only thing is, you must have everything prepared and ready before you coat your fish (or meat, or chicken, or vegetables) because that coating absorbs moisture like nothing else and turns into a slimy paste before you can say “Bob’s yer uncle.” (He’s not, by the way. I only know one person named Bob and he is not in any way related to me.)
So, heat your biggest skillet (cast iron, if you have it) over medium heat. When it’s hot, pour in a good amount of vegetable oil (don’t use olive oil something like this. It’ll just burn and taste nasty and become a general, all around disappointment). Use plenty of oil here, don’t skimp or the fish will stick. You want enough to generously cover the bottom of the skillet.
While the oil heats, coat your sauced up fish in seasoned cornstarch, and shake any excess off.
On a side note, if you really went to town with that chipotle sauce, pat the fish down with paper towels to take off some of the excess. The goal here is crispy, crispy, crispy!
Immediately place the fish into the hot oil and let it get crunchy and brown on one side (2-4 minutes depending on the size of your filets)
then flip and brown the other side.
While this is happening, heat up some of your favorite taco tortillas, and stir a couple of tablespoons of chipotle sauce into some sour cream to make a spicy cream to drizzle over the tacos. If you need to (or want to) stir in a little more lime juice to really make it tangy and refreshing!
Serve the fish on the tortillas and top with the coleslaw, some cilantro (if you so choose), spicy cream and maybe some avocado.
If everything comes together as it should, your fish will be golden brown and super crispy, the coleslaw will be tangy, cool and refreshing, and the sauce will be spicy and creamy! Altogether, a pretty amazing combination!
And, you know, if you fear the fish as much as I do, this is an excellent way to begin an acquaintance with it. You can determine how much you taste actually the fish by how much of the toppings you put on your tacos.
So, what did I think of the fish tacos?
The sole was significantly fishier smelling than the tilapia was, and while I was cooking it I was worried that the house would smell like fish for days! But it didn’t taste fishy at all, and the smell had dissipated before dinner was over.
And Hubby (who has actually had fish tacos before and therefore has a basis for comparison) said that they were delicious, and everything a fish taco should be.
I’m counting it a success.
4 medium sized sole filets (about ½ to ¾ lb total)
1 recipe Super Hot Chipotle Sauce( http://phobicfoodie.com/2011/05/18/spicy-chipotle-black-bean-soup/)
½ c. cornstarch
Vegetable oil (about ½ to ¾ c. depending on the size of your skillet)
1 recipe Tangy Limey Coleslaw (http://phobicfoodie.com/2011/07/17/big-messy-chili-tacos/)
Various toppings (cilantro, avocado)
Coat the filets generously with Chipotle sauce and place in the refrigerator while you prepare everything else.
Begin heating a skillet over medium heat.
Season cornstarch with salt.
Pour vegetable oil into the skillet (enough to coat the bottom of the skillet generously). Allow the oil to come up to heat (a cube of bread dipped into the pan should cause the oil to bubble vigorously).
Pat any excess sauce off the fish with paper towels. Coat the filets with cornstarch, shaking off the excess, and immediately place into the skillet. Allow to brown thoroughly and cook through, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, stir 2-3 tablespoons of the Chipotle Sauce into ¼ to 1/3 cup sour cream and a squeeze of lime juice.
Serve the fish on the tortillas, topping with the coleslaw, spicy cream sauce, and other toppings if desired. Have plenty of extra limes on hand!
Eat and be happy!