Monday, October 4, 2010

Being a Grown Up is Kinda Like Fish Tacos

I cooked a piece of fish. Several actually. This is a big step. If you know me, you know, I don't eat fish - not cooked fish anyway. Can't stand it. I keep trying, hoping I'll come around, but until this week, I had never cooked a piece of fish in my life.

When I was a little, Mom and I had a deal at dinner time. If I didn't like something, I had to have at least three bites of it or I couldn't get up from the table. Pretty fair, right? And who likes a fussy eater? However, on the nights we had fish for dinner, I felt the need to take a stand. I would sit and sit and sit, stubbornly poking and breaking up my bites of fish into smaller and smaller chunks, while Dad, Mom and the Mayor finished eating, did dishes and adjourned to the den for some family TV. One night, while I stewed in my disobedience, I could hear them watching Flight of the Navigator, one of my favorite movies! Traitors! I did my best to close my eyes and picture the scenes I knew by heart in my head, but after a few minutes, I couldn't take it; I scooped up all three bites on my fork and forced it into my mouth. I frantically gestured for Mom to inspect my clean plate. Look! Look! Yet, as soon as my parole was given, instead of plunking myself down between Dad and the Major for some fabulous 80s Sci-fi, I stubbornly refused to submit. That's right, I held that fish in my mouth, ran upstairs and spit it out.

Yeah, I was wicked mature. Get over it. I've totally grown up since then. As an adult, not only do I order fish in restaurants, but I often use my wine to help me wash it down. ( No spitting here! I'm a lady). Be that as it may, when Boyfriend came home from a recent fishing trip with several pounds of rockfish (pounds!! blerg!!) I decided to be mature, act the grown-up and face my three bites of fish phobia head on.

Fish Tacos with Fresh Salsa
(Adapted from Simply Mexican, by Lourdes Castro here)

The best thing about fish tacos, or any tacos really, is that you can add and subtract ingredients to suit your tastes. I really like avocado and lime, so I filled mine up with extra of both. Despite that fact that I had no source for comparison, I liked my fish tacos. They did seemed a little tame compared to their beef and cheesy cousins, but I still considered these tacos a success. Besides, Boyfriend tells me they tasted top notch.

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 and 1/3 lbs. rockfish fillets* (or any white flaky fish)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. ancho chile powder
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
4 medium or 8 small flour tortillas

1 avocado, cut into small chunks
handful of fresh cilantro leaves

3 or 4 cups tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
juice of 1 lime

* I left the skin on my fillets.

1. Onions: place onions in a small bowl and cover with red wine vinegar. Cover and set aside.

2. Marinade: Mix together olive oil, chile powder, oregano, cumin, cilantro and jalapenos in a small bowl. Place fish in a baking dish (skin down, if you left the skin on) and spoon marinade over fish. Make sure to evenly distribute over all the fillets. Cover and marinate for at least 1 hour.

3. Salsa: Meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Give the whole thing a turn or two in the blender or food processor if you like your salsa less chunky.

4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake fish, uncovered, for 15 to 25 minutes. (Mine took 20 minutes). To test the doneness of the fish, insert a fork and twist slightly. If the fish is opaque and flakes apart, it should be done. Flake the fish into a bowl.

5. Tacos! Assemble tacos in a tortilla with a couple scoops of fish, onions, avocado and salsa. Add lime juice or cilantro leaves to taste. Enjoy!

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