FRIED FISH TACOS WITH RED ONION AND CUCUMBER PICKLE, AVOCADO, AND CILANTRO LIME CREMA
The Pickled Onions and Cukes:
¾ cup cider vinegar
½ cup water
3 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large red onion, thinly sliced and slices cut into half moons
1 cup cucumber, thinly sliced and slices cut into half moons
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cilantro leaves
Juice from one lime
1 jalapeño, rough chopped including seeds
1 large garlic clove, rough chopped
The Fried Fish:
5-6 cups of vegetable oil for frying
1 ½ – 2 pounds fish filets, skinned, such as sea bass (my fave), haddock, cod, mahi, etc…
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup cornstarch
½ cup vodka
1 ½ – 2 cups water
2 cups shredded pepper jack or cheddar jack cheese
10-12, 8” flour tortillas
2 ripe avocados, shell and pit removed, cut into slices
1 bunch fresh cilantro
2 limes, cut into wedges
Begin pickling the onions and cucumbers at least 2 hours in advance of making the tacos (overnight even better). Combine the cider vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a large jar or small bowl and shake/whisk until sugar dissolves. Add the onions and cukes to the liquid and vigorously shake (or stir if in a bowl) until they are well coated. Let sit at room temperature, shaking occasionally until ready. They will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
To make the crema, combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse until thoroughly combined and smooth. The crema will have a beautiful light green color. Keep in the fridge until ready to use. I like to put it into a squeeze bottle for pretty presentation, but you can also drizzle with a spoon. Crema will also keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and is delicious on everything!
Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or fryer to 400 degrees. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cut the fish into ‘taco-size portions’ about the size of a chicken tender. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.
To make the batter, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and corn starch. Pour in the vodka and 1 cup of the water. Whisk to combine and gradually add more water until the batter has the consistency of a thick pancake batter.
Dredge each piece of fish in the batter, letting excess drip off. Then, holding one end of the battered fish, hold it in the oil for a couple of seconds, swaying in the oil before letting it submerge. This will help to keep the fish from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and cooked through (flaky in the center), turning occasionally in the oil with a metal spider or slotted spoon to brown evenly. Cook time will vary a bit depending on how thick your fish is (thinner less time, thicker a little more). Remove from oil drain on a wire rack set inside a cookie sheet. Immediately season with salt and top with the shredded cheese. Place in the oven while you toast the tortillas and cheese will melt, but fish will remain crisp.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium high heat and add tortillas, one at a time. Heat about 1-2 minutes per side until they lightly brown and get a little crispy. Set aside in a stack.
To assemble tacos, place one or two pieces of fish down the middle of each tortilla. Top with pickled onions and cucumbers, a couple of slices of avocado, a few cilantro leaves, and drizzle with the cilantro crema. Serve with a wedge of lime for extra acid.