I arrived in Puerto Rico a few days ago wondering about a few things – the heat and humidity, will I get cozy with Zumba and standup paddle boarding, will I get some work done? Make a good fish taco? Finally?
Chances are pretty good for the fish tacos. A. I’m in a small town where fresh fish is abundant. B. I’d like to cook fresh and light and quick.
So, let the quest begin. The best part of the trip is my family here – they were captive to my taco experiments. First round, my second night here, featured frozen fish from the supermarket. It was a start. Made with grouper, the star of that show was the red cabbage/cucumber/avocado slaw dressed with lots of fresh squeezed lime and some hot pepper. Salsa and sour cream of course. Pretty good.
Next day I learned where to buy freshly caught local fish. And then I got lucky.
Pirulo, the landlord of the little place on the beach where I’m staying, gave me a freshly caught Mahi Mahi, or something like Mahi Mahi he thought. The perfect fish for tacos, but truthfully, any white fish will do.
Pirulo’s a local character, in a very good way. He fishes from his little boat many mornings, manages a small guest cottage, tends his beautiful tropical veggie and herb gardens, raises pigs and chickens. Not interested much in the internet, he jumped right on the bandwagon to try to recover his wifi service for me. Thanks Pirulo, for all of it.
My Best Fish Taco So Far Recipe
I’m on vacation, this ‘recipe’ is very loose. I’ll tell the story and I think there’s a recipe in here somewhere. Enough for approximately 6 tacos.
The basics: 3 or 4 limes/ the fish/ cabbage/ sour cream/ cilantro/ jalapeño/ salsa/ avocado/ hot sauce/ fresh tortillas.
A piece of white fish, a pound or two depending. My fish must have been at least a pound and made six hearty tacos.
Ingredients for fish marinade: the juice of two limes/ 2 T olive oil/ 1 clove of garlic coarsely chopped/ 1 or 1/2 finely chopped jalapeño (according to taste)/ 1 t cumin/ Shake to mix and pour over fish one half hour before cooking.
Prepare lime sour cream: 1 1/2 C sour cream/ Juice of at least one lime/ 1/2 t cumin/ More finely chopped jalapeño/ Mix together and reserve.
Prepare cabbage slaw: Grate or very finely slice 3 C red or green cabbage/ Dice an avocado/ 1/2 C thinly sliced red onion/ Stir together with 1 T lime juice and/or vinegar/ Stir in 1/4 C of the sour cream lime dressing.
Salsa, hot sauce, more avocado, cilantro on the side.
Grill or sauté fish. Remove from marinade, cook fish several minutes per side and then pour marinade over when it’s about done, let it sizzle in the sauté pan for a minute. It becomes a lovely sauce. When grilling, simmer marinade in a small sauce pan and pour over fish before serving.
Assemble: Grill fresh tortillas to your liking. I place them on a hot grill pan, less than a minute on each side. Smother grilled tortilla with lime sour cream, salsa, slaw and fish. Embellish with hot sauce and cilantro to taste, another squeeze of lime. Eat up. Have another one. They’re good for you.