California Style Fish Tacos

So I mentioned in the Black-Eyed Pea Dip post that my hubby insisted on a little “New Years Tradition” this January 1.  Lucky black-eyed peas, check!  Time for some cabbage.  Cabbage as a New Years Tradition was new to me, but I trusted my man and went with it.  His suggestion of steamed cabbage (barf!) was out so I quickly had to come up with another idea.  My mom’s Better Than Cole Slaw recipe is a fantastic way to use cabbage, but what else…hmm….ding, ding – fish tacos!!

California Style Fish Tacos - YUM!

California Style Fish Tacos - YUM!

There is a little hole-in-the-wall joint in San Diego called Point Loma Seafood.  They have the WORLD’S BEST fish tacos and I was on a mission to make a close second.  They didn’t quite match Point Loma, but I was pleasantly surprised.  When you try them, notice what a nice fresh, crunchy texture the cabbage gives on the tacos.  Unless you want to just eat steamed cabbage with Zach…

Fish Taco Ingredients
white fish (We used tilapia. Cod or your favorite white fish would work.) – We had a little less than a pound of fish (.83 oz, two filets) for 2 people and it was plenty.
fish breading (listed below)
2 tablespoons olive oil & 2 tablespoons butter (for pan frying fish)
corn tortillas
kickin’ cilantro lime sauce

Fish Taco Garnish
shredded cheddar cheese
cherry tomatoes, halved
purple onions sliced thin
shredded cabbage
fresh cilantro
avocado, sliced
lime wedge (1 or 2 per person)

Taco Toppings!

Taco Toppings!

Kickin’ Cilantro Lime Sauce (Made enough for at least 4 people or 8 tacos.  Was way too much for us, but we saved it because it was so good!)
1/2 cup mayo
½ cup plain yogurt (I used Greek.)
Juice of 2 limes (Our limes were really juicy so keep an extra on hand in case yours aren’t very juicy and you need to add more juice.)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon of finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp milk (you could probably hold off on this until you add the lime juice and test thickness)

And if you’re brave you can (and SHOULD) add…
1 teaspoon of minced capers (I liked the salty touch this added.  I’m obsessed with capers.)
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (OH YEAH!! Really made a difference.)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin  (Just a dash, really)

  1. Mix the first 5 ingredients together and test the consistency.  If you need to thin it out a bit, add the milk.  If not, feel free to skip that ingredient.  You could also just use more lime juice to thin.
  2. If you’re feelin’ it, add the capers, cayenne and cumin.  These really made the flavor POP for me.  It’s not too spicy, but if you’re wimpy when it comes to spice you can leave out the cayenne or just use a little less. (LAAAME….)
  3. Now that your sauce is done and you’re happy with the taste, get your garnishes ready (chop the tomatoes, onions, cabbage and shred the cheese, etc.)
  4. When your garnish plate and sauce are ready, move on to the fish!
Spicy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Spicy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Fish Breading Ingredients (for 2 filets/about 1 lb of fish)
½ cup of flour
about 1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper fresh ground pepper
½ teaspoon of sweet paprika
½ teaspoon of ground cumin
½ teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Fish Breading (before mixing together)

Fish Breading (before mixing together)

  1. Rinse of fish and blot dry with paper towel.
  2. Mix all dry breading ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Lightly cover fish filets with breading ingredients and shake off excess.
  4. Melt butter and olive oil in pan over medium high heat.
  5. When butter is melted, but not yet brown, put fish in the pan.
  6. Cook fish 5 mins on each side over medium high heat.  Keep an eye on it.  You want a light brown exterior, but the fish should still be light and flaky on the inside.
  7. When the filets are done, serve up your tacos by dividing up the fish filets into heated corn tortillas, top with garnishes and drizzle with your cilantro lime sauce.
  8. Serve with lime wedges and refried beans.  Enjoy!!
Tilapia in the pan

Tilapia in the pan

Tilapia Flipped

Tilapia Flipped

Tilapia cooked and ready for the tacos!

Tilapia cooked and ready for the tacos!

Tacos - a bit overloaded (just the way I like it)...ready for the sauce.

Tacos - a bit overloaded (just the way I like it)...ready for the sauce.

Yum, yum, yum.  Fresh California (Baja) Style Fish Tacos.

Yum, yum, yum. Fresh California (Baja) Style Fish Tacos.

You can usually tell how good a recipe is by how good my pictures are.  The more rushed and disheveled the photo, the better the meal…or the more anxious I am to dig in.  Usually the way it works is that Zach dives right in and is “ooo-ing” and “ahhh-ing” over our creation and I’m sitting there taking 45 pictures.  Haha!  This one I got a little too excited, snapped a few pics and crunched down on a DELicious, fresh, flavorful taco…that immediately transported me to the San Diego bay.

The sauce added a creamy, salty, spicy kick.  That sauce paired with the fresh squeeze of lime juice on the crispy, but fluffy tilapia was perfection.  To top it off, the crunch of fresh cabbage just took it to another level and made my hubby really happy.  Magic.

Zach-o-meter:  said that we nailed it – just as good as Point Loma Seafood’s tacos.  Granted we haven’t been to San Diego to have a Point Loma Seafood fish taco in about two years so the memory is a liiiiiittle faded, but nonetheless killer, killer dish.

Hope you enjoy!

So fresh and delicious!

So fresh and delicious!

Printer Friendly Recipe:  Dine with a Darling – California Style Fish Tacos

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Happy New Year 2012 – Our First Holiday Card!

We made our first holiday card this year, and I was like a giddy little school girl stamping, stuffing and addressing envelopes.  It was probably fun for me because we just sent them…after the holiday craziness.  Our sweet pup, Toula, got to come home with us at Christmas and we had to hold off on the card pic until she could be in it – of course!

I wanted to electronically wish you a Happy New Year (better late than never) and thank you for being a loyal reader.  Blessings and yummy meals to you and your family in 2012!

New Years Card 2012 Front

New Years Card 2012 Front

New Years Card 2012 Back

New Years Card 2012 Back

Black-Eyed Pea Dip

Zach(o-meter) insisted that we have some black-eyed peas and cabbage to ring in the New Year.  EW!  I’m a sap for traditions, but these ingredients are not my favorite.  So my immediate task was to find a yummy way to use them – the good luck doesn’t count unless you enjoy eating it.  (Jk – I just totally made that up, but why waist a meal, right?)

Last New Years we were visiting our dear friends, Claire and Nathan Hollek, and Claire made a killer “New Years Dip” with black-eyed peas.  I definitely don’t jump up and down over black-eyed peas, and I had never even heard of hominy until I tried this dip.  However, I was still thinking about it a year later.  It must’ve been good!  So this is the concoction we went with to spice up our good luck peas for 2012.

Black-Eyed Peas never tasted so good...

Black-Eyed Peas never tasted so good...

Black-Eyed Pea Dip Ingredients
1 can of hominy, drained
1 can of black-eyed peas, drained
1 can of Rotel
generous handful of cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and chopped)
1 white onion, diced (I used ½ onion because it was really strong.)
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
about half a bottle of fat-free Italian dressing (I used light because I couldn’t find fat free in the store…no one eats fat free in Louisiana!)

Black-Eyed Pea Dip Ingredients

Black-Eyed Pea Dip Ingredients

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and toss to coat everything in the Italian dressing.
  2. Serve with chips right away or refrigerate for a while to let flavors marry one another…
Dip read to serve.  It's as easy as that!

Dip read to serve. It's as easy as that!

Claire told me you can also add avocado if you’re eating it right away and that sounds yummy.  We didn’t use avocados in ours on Jan 1, but you can’t ever go wrong with avocados!

Black-eyed Pea Dip ready to eat!

Black-eyed Pea Dip ready to eat!

I apologize that I’m sharing this recipe with you after the New Year, but I’m tellin’ ya – this is a great dip for any time of the year.  So quick and easy.  It would be great to make and bring to a party.  It’s healthy and really fresh tasting.  I can totally picture it at a summer BBQ.  Look who is already dreaming of summer…maybe because it already feels like summer in Louisiana…in January…

So colorful.

So colorful.

Zach-o-meter: honored his black-eyed pea family tradition and got his luck for 2012 (phew!) in a much yummier way than straight outta the can.  We both loved this dip when we rang in 2011 – and 2011 was a great year!  We loved the dip (while watching football) this New Years day and hopefully 2012 will be just as great.

Yum.

Yum. Good food = happy people = happy new year.

Hang tight to see how we transformed drab cabbage into a magnificent meal.  Zach wanted to just steam it…plain.  No gracias…

Printer Friendly Version:  Dine with a Darling – Black Eyed Pea Dip PDF