Saturday, January 18, 2014

Rodrigo-Style Fish Tacos

I wanted something healthy and easy for dinner tonight after feasting on black and white cookies and other baked goods today and immediately thought of seafood.  So I sent Alex off to pick up some chicken for tomorrow night's dinner and headed to the seafood counter.  Fairway had some wild striped bass fillets that looked really nice and decided that we should make fish tacos.  I love tacos.  And I love seafood.  So it is natural that I try to combine the two fairly regularly.  I found the recipe for Rodrigo-Style Fish on Serious Eats several months ago, but we never got around to making it.  I looked at it while at the grocery store and decided that we could make some variation on it and turn it into tacos.  I didn't read far enough to see that the author already suggested serving the fish with corn tortillas, but clearly we were on the same wavelength.  Since the striped bass I picked out looked so nice I adapted the cooking method to basically season it with salt and pepper and sear it using another recipe/cooking method that I found online for perfect seared fish.  I highly recommend trying the cooking method for the fish.  Our striped bass was beautifully cooked, with a wonderfully crispy skin and a moist, flaky flesh.  It was perfect.  This fish would have worked with a just a squeeze of lemon, but I thought the sauce was a really nice touch - full of citrus and herbs.  I never would have thought to use Maggi sauce because when I think of Maggi sauce I think soy sauce and Asian food, but it added a nice saltiness to the fish.  I'm a huge fan of this recipe.  I would definitely try both the fish and the tacos again separately and together, and also with other types of fish depending on what is fresh.

Recipe after the jump!

Rodrigo-Style Fish Tacos
Adapted from Serious Eats

For sauce
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and light green parts only)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp jalapeño or serrano chile, minced
1 tbsp Maggi sauce or soy sauce
Kosher or coarse sea salt
For fish
2 striped bass fillets (about 10 ounces each)
kosher salt
2 tbsp grapeseed oil

black pepper
1 tbsp butter

12 corn tortillas, warmed

In a small bowl, combine the scallions, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, jalapeño, and Maggi sauce, and stir to mix well. Set aside for at least 15 minutes. Season with salt if necessary to taste before serving.
Take your fish fillets out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking.  Rinse and pat dry.  Sprinkle kosher salt on the skin side.  Heat a cast-iron or steel pan (don’t use non-stick) over high heat for 1-2 minutes until roaring hot.  Pat fish dry again with a paper towel to remove any moisture.

Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil, in 3 packages of 4 tortillas each, and set aside.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and place tortilla packets in the oven to warm.
Pour the oil into the center of the hot pan.  Swirl this oil to coat the pan and let it get hot for a minute or so.  If it starts to smoke, take the pan off the heat until it stops.  Place the fish fillets skin side down and jiggle the pan the second the fish hits the hot pan so the fish doesn’t stick.  Salt and pepper the flesh side of the fish.

Turn the heat down to medium-high.  Using a spatula, press down on each fillet for 30 seconds to flatten out the fish and encourage even searing of the skin.  Let it cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, until you can start to see the fish fillets are cooked at least 1/4 of the way up the sides.  Depending on how thick your fillets are it might take a little more or less time.  You want the fish to cook 2/3 of the way through on the skin side prior to flipping.  Test by shaking the pan - if the fish fillets move, use a spatula to flip the fish.  If the fish is stuck to the pan you might have to be prepared to scrape the skin off the bottom in places. 

Gently flip the fish and cook 2-3 more minutes on the other side, until cooked through.  Again, depending on the thickness of your fillets, it might take a little more or less time.  Once the fish is almost cooked through, turn off the heat and add a tablespoon of butter to the pan and swirl it so it melts quickly. Tip the pan and use a spoon to baste the fish with the butter.

Remove the fish from the pan and serve immediately with sauce and corn tortillas.

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