Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fancy Fish Tacos with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

There are only so many times you can present me with fancy tacos from trendy food trucks before I decide it's high time I make my own.

Three, it turns out, is the number. In case you were wondering. Feel free to try it. (Presenting me with tacos, I mean.)

After that, these happen. And then everyone is happy. Because tacos.

1/2 lb white fish (Petrale sole or black drum are particularly good; cod is fine as a backup)
Whole wheat flour
9 oz Greek yogurt (Voskos or Fage are particularly good)
1/2-2/3 bunch cilantro
1 lime, halved
2-3 handfuls Serrano or Padron peppers (or sub a couple Anaheims and a jalapeno)
Fresh whole wheat or multigrain tortillas (it's worth investing in particularly delicious tortillas. Look for local ones that are softer and fluffier than your garden variety dry disc).
1/2 cup grated Pepperjack cheese (optional)
Diced avocado (optional)

Combine the yogurt, cilantro, and juice of 1/2 the lime in a blender or small Cuisinart and blend until smooth.

For Serrano or Padron peppers: Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Drizzle with olive oil, add the peppers, and sauté, shaking the pan occasionally, for a few minutes until peppers blister and soften slightly. Remove from heat and let cool, then slice crosswise into rings. (You can eat the seeds, so don't worry if a few get into the rings.)

For other peppers: Dice or slice into strips, and sauté in olive oil until they soften, 5-7 minutes.

Salt and pepper the fish, then dredge in the flour. Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Add the fish and shake the pan to prevent sticking. Cook until the fish is browned on the bottom, then flip and cook until just before the fish is done (it will finish cooking from its own heat). Remove from the pan and set on a cutting board for a minute to cool slightly, then cut crosswise into strips.

Meanwhile, toss your tortillas in the microwave between a couple damp paper towels for a few seconds to warm them.

Take each tortilla and sprinkle lightly with a little cheese. Pile in the fish, drizzle generously with cilantro-yogurt sauce, top liberally with peppers and a couple slices of avocado if desired, and garnish with lime wedges. Serve warm.

Serves 2.


  1. Every one of your posts breaks my heart. I live in the inland backwoods where culture has largely passed us by (aka western Massachusetts). For instance, I've never even heard of black drum before. Fresh tortillas? They exist in North America?
    This sounds delicious, but I have to resign myself to the knowledge that my attempt will be a pale shadow of its full potential.

    1. Oh no, that won't do at all -- broken hearts over fish tacos? Fish tacos should bring merriment and joy to all. Let's strategize. First of all, I had never heard of black drum before I went to a supermarket in Texas and looked for my much-adored Petrale sole and found only cod and some other fish called black drum, and grumbled to myself, and bought the black drum, and went home and cooked it, and then happily fell in love with yet another fish. I'm not super familiar with the Massachusetts fish scene, other than vaguely remembering scrod as a frequent fixture in my college cafeteria. (Maybe it's good, but it never quite sounded like the name of something edible to me.) How about fluke? Or cod really does work just fine. Maybe even scrod. We could just call it something different, like Massachusettsian whitefish.

      Second of all, fresh tortillas are lovely dreamy pillowy things, and sometimes available in the most unlikely of places. But mass-produced tortillas can be good too, and you might consider grilling them in a pan before filling them so that they're a little toasty on the outside...that sounds rather delicious...or I bet this recipe would be good in pita bread as well.

      Also, this:

      If I can conquer Kansas, you can conquer inland Massachusetts. Ooh, or send me a challenge with a list of what you can find on your local produce aisle and I'll try one week to mirror what you can get!

    2. You rock! I'll take you up on that challenge. I won't get to the supermarket until the weekend, but I will post back here with what I find. Be forewarned: The produce section of the local Stop 'n' Shop is depressing.