Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tequila-Lime Tilapia Tacos

Picture this: You’re sipping on a Corona with lime, munching on some chips and salsa while 311’s “Amber” plays in the background. You’re about to dig in to your plate of fish tacos- charred flaky white fish, topped with lime crema, avocado and a zesty cabbage slaw, all wrapped in warm flour tortillas. 

This is not you relaxing beach-side in Southern California. This is you eating dinner in the comfort of your living room on a Tuesday night... or at least it could be. Let me introduce the dish that's going to make it happen- presenting, tequila lime tilapia tacos.

I stumbled across this recipe in the pursuit of some fresh material to add to my repertoire of quick, healthy weeknight meals. These meals are generally reserved for the nights I dine alone; however, this particular dish was perfectly suited for date night- low stress and reasonable prep time, but still fun and special. Plus, my boyfriend is a fan of fish tacos, so it was a no brainer.

The original recipe calls for mahi-mahi; however, my grocery store was out, so I went with tilapia, which is a fish often found in restaurant fish tacos.  Tilapia is a flaky white fish with a mild flavor that allows marinades and sauces to shine. It’s pretty delicate and can therefore be tricky to grill, but I used a grill pan brushed with regular doses of canola oil and had no problems.

Tilapia is essentially a blank canvas for whatever you pair it with, so the tangy flavor of the marinade, made with lime, tequila, cilantro, garlic and cumin, is fairly pronounced in the final dish, as is the delicious lime crema. The red cabbage slaw adds a nice crunch and some acidity, which cuts through the creaminess of the sauce. The dish is incredibly well balanced and rich in both flavor and texture. And when all of the components make it into a single bite, it’s downright awesome.

These may not be quite the same as beach-side fish tacos in San Diego or LA, but for a Tuesday night dinner at home, they're not too shabby.

For a different twist, try pico de gallo on top instead of avocado

Bon appetit!

Tequila-Lime Tilapia Tacos
Serves 4
4 tbsp fresh lime juice, divided
3 tbsp tequila
3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 lb tilapia
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp canola oil
2 3/4 tsp honey, divided
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 c thinly sliced red cabbage
3/4 c reduced-fat sour cream
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lime zest
6-inch flour tortillas
1 firm-ripe avocado, thinly sliced
2 limes, quartered

In a large glass baking dish, combine 3 tbsp lime juice, tequila, 1 tbsp cilantro, garlic and cumin. Add fish and turn to coat; refrigerate, turning once, 1 hour.

In a bowl, combine vinegar, oil, 2 teaspoons honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add cabbage; toss well.

In another bowl, combine sour cream, milk, zest, remaining 1 tbsp juice, remaining 3/4 teaspoon honey and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Heat grill pan. Remove fish from marinade; season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Grill, turning once, until just cooked through and lightly charred, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board; coarsely chop. Stir remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro into slaw.

Grill tortillas, turning once, 30 seconds per side.

To assemble, spoon 1 tablespoon sour cream mixture in center of each tortilla. Divide fish, slaw and avocado among tortillas. Garnish with lime wedges.

Source: adapted from Self

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