Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fish Tacos

Do you know how to fillet a fish? I'm not very good at it. In fact, after ruining a few fish, I decided to do what my mom does: just cook the whole thing and let diners get the bones out. Actually, she has this move that I have yet to learn where she fillets the fish when it's half cooked, right in the pan. Flop! And there's half the fish all neatly separated. Then she pulls out the spine with all the "arĂȘtes" attached.
So when I bought some whole catfish at the grocery store, I thought I would try her strategy. When I say whole, I mean, the spine was still in there attached.
So I melted some butter, squeezed in some lemon and threw the whole fish right in the pan. I did not take any pictures because my attempt at filleting was not pretty, and my fingers were very buttery. I do have a pictures of the fish left over from my torturous attempts.
leftover catfish with ginger
Notice the sheer quantity of fish I was not able to remove cleanly. All the better to make some kind of salad, I thought. But then I thought about the fish tacos I had eaten in the Purdue Union at La Salsa Restaurant. Mighty tasty with a zesty lime cilantro sauce, cabbage slaw, and avocado. Their fish tacos are made with whole big pieces of fish, but I thought my leftovers would work well too.
First, I grated some ginger. Maybe a teaspoon's worth to cook up with the left over fish.
Fish & ginger
Then, I made a mayonnaise. It's really easy if you have a food processor. I used the small bowl insert because I was only using one egg.
First, process the egg with whatever flavorings you want and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. I used horseradish and lots of fresh basil from our garden. Then, slowly add about a cup of oil. Here, I used olive oil - not the extra virgin stuff because it tastes too fruity. Then, season with salt and pepper. Tada! Home-made mayo.
Basil horseradish mayo
Then I prepared some fixin's. I didn't have any avocado on hand, but if you actually plan to make then, then I highly recommend avocado. So good. I just chopped some cucumbers and peppers and shredded some carrot. The carrot was very nice. Cold, crunchy, juicy. The peppers and cucumber came in handy to finish the last of the mayo when there was no more fish to make tacos with.
Veggies for tacos
And then... assemble!

ugly fish taco Pretty fish taco

Nick did a good job at making his look good. They were absolutely delicious, but in the future, I would replace the peppers with avocado. Mmmm avocado.

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