My friend Stacey made the most delicious fish tacos last night so I decided to try them at home. Charlie jumped on board the Baja Project, and soon we had tilapia frying, mayonnaise coming together, and tortillas browning on the stove. Fun!
If you wish to make these yourself you'll need a handful of recipes which, when put together, add up to a very tasty taco with a little kick.
First up is something that's delicious with a gazillion other things as well. It's delicious on sandwiches, as a dipping sauce for fries, and used in chicken salad. If you've never made mayonnaise you are in for a real treat. Actually, you're in for a real treat either way. :)
Wasabi Aioli with Lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon water
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 - 1 teaspoon wasabi powder (to taste)
Whisk together the salt, water, lime juice, and egg yolk. Starting with one drop and whisking vigorously, slowly add the vegetable oil. Continue whisking as you very slowly add more oil. It is important to add the oil slowly. If it is added too quickly the mayonnaise will break. Once you have added about half the oil and the aioli has begun to thicken, add the wasabi powder. Continue adding oil until it has all been incorporated and is thick and creamy. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
If you prefer, you can use store-bought mayonnaise. Simply mix the desired amount of wasabi powder and a few squirts of lime juice and mix. Also, Trader Joe's sells a wonderful pre-made wasabi mayonnaise. Homemade is fresher, tastes better, and contains no preservatives, but store-bought will do the trick. But seriously, don't be afraid of this recipe! Just be vigilant when whisking.
Now that you've got that down you're ready for beer-battered tilapia! This too is delicious on it's own and very simple to make. The beer batter can also be used to make onion rings. Change the seasonings for a little variety.
Beer-Battered Tilapia (with Baja flair)
1/2 - 1 qt peanut oil (depending on size of stock pot or frier)
1 lb fresh tilapia
1 cup bread flour (all-purpose can be used also)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (plus extra for seasoning cooked fish)
1 cup beer
Heat oil in a large stock pot (or deep frier if you have one) on medium-high heat until the surface begins to move rapidly or it reaches 325 degrees F. You only need approximately 2 inches of oil to fry the fish in so adjust the amount depending on the size of your pot.
Cut the tilapia into 2-inch strips taking care to cut against the grain. (Cutting against the grain allows the fish to break apart easily when you're eating it thus guarding against a stringy bite.)
In a medium bowl mix together the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Add the beer. (You can use any beer you like. I chose Dos Equis Amber because I like the flavor, and I knew I would drink the remaining bottles of beer.) The beer will fizz when first added. Stir until smooth and thoroughly combined.
The beer batter can rest for up to an hour before use. Put several pieces of fish in the batter and turn to coat completely. Once oil reaches the desired temperature drop in one piece of batter-covered fish to test. If should immediately sizzle, float to the top, and turn golden brown within 1 minute. Once you have determined that the oil is the correct temperature place 6 - 7 pieces of fish in the oil. Do not crowd the pot. Allow the fish to cook for approximately 2 minutes. Remove from hot oil with tongs and allow to drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
Allow the oil to return to desired temperature and repeat the process with remaining pieces of fish.
Doesn't that look tasty? Believe me. It was.
To make the tacos we had you'll also need homemade tortillas (which I have, conveniently, already blogged about). Again, you can use store-bought tortillas, but where's the fun in that?
So, put it all together and here's what you get!
Baja Fish Tacos
8 - 10 homemade tortillas
1 batch beer-battered tilapia (with Baja flair)
wasabi aioli with lime
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
2 serrano chilis, chopped
Place a tortilla on a flat surface and fill with fish, tomatoes, cilantro, and chilis in desired amounts. Drizzle with wasabi aioli and a squeeze of fresh lime. Roll up and enjoy!
Charlie, rightly, suggested that these would also be tasty with a little chopped cabbage. Maybe turned into a coleslaw with the wasabi aioli? I may have to try this.
The photos aren't great but, seriously, this is yummy summertime food. The tacos are especially good served with grilled corn on the cob, guacamole, and margaritas!