Friday, January 13, 2012

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce

The first time I had fish tacos was just this past September, in while in Aruba with my sister Allie. One evening after being totally exhausted from a fantastic snorkeling trip and not feeling much like venturing downtown for dinner, we headed down to the hotel's sports-themed bar/restaurant for a quick bite. We were very, very pleasantly surprised. Despite the corny ambiance we were fully impressed by their fish tacos, made with perfectly fried local fish and fresh, yummy toppings on white flour tortillas. Delish.

So, for some reason, I decided that I wanted to make some fish tacos of my own while still here on the Cape. Adventure!

The sauce is based off of my recipe for the spicy chipotle dressing that I used in my black bean bowls with brown rice and sweet corn salsa back in June. Basically you'll want to make the dressing in a food processor and add sour cream until you are happy with the texture - probably around three quarters of a cup or more. Since this will also cool down the spiciness of the sauce, it may take a little fiddling with to reach the level of spiciness that you're going for, but it's totally worth it. Also, this way you can make a signature sauce that's all your own.
Crispy golden fried fish covered in sauce and toppings.
This recipe serves 4 people.

1 1/2 lb. fresh cod fillets, sliced diagonally into about 4 inch strips
White flour tortillas (Not corn. That is a mistake that I very nearly made.)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 12 oz. bottle of lager (I used Sankaty Light Lager made by Cisco Brewers on Nantucket, which I recommend.)
Oil for frying (quantity will depend on the vessel you're using)
1/2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning or a "house seasoning" mix

Oil for frying
Slotted or basket spoon, wok or cast-iron dutch oven for frying

1. Heat oil in your dutch oven or wok. If you have a thermometer for these purposes, you'll want it around 375 Fahrenheit. If not, you want it hot enough that if you add a drop of water, the oil sizzles and freaks out a little. Very scientific. (Another trick is to test the temperature with a cube of bread. If it browns within a minute, it's ready to go). Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
2. Wrap your tortillas up in some aluminum foil and place in the oven. In a large bowl, pour out the beer. Sift 1 1/2 cups of the flour into the bowl, add house seasoning and whisk until just combined.
3. Pat fish dry with a paper towel, season on both sides with salt and pepper and coat with beer batter. Dredge fish in remaining flour and slide into the oil.
4. Fry fish until deep golden and cooked through, about 4 - 5 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet lined with paper towels and keep warm in oven, frying the remaining fish in batches.
5. Serve fish with toppings and sauce on a small pitcher, gravy boat, or with a ladle, and the warmed tortillas.

This batter is, in a word, fantastic. With the Sankaty Light Lager we used our batter came out light and crispy, without overwhelming the delicious, flaky white fish. I would recommend this for any kind of fried fish or seafood that you feel like beer-battering. The toppings are up to your own artistic license. I served them with shredded red cabbage, thinly sliced red onion, guacamole, a wedge of lime and the chipotle sauce, but they would also be delicious with a corn salsa, diced peppers and onions or even cucumber, if you're feeling adventurous.

My only caveat with this dish is the work involved. There is nothing difficult about the frying - the battering and cooking are all pretty simple - but you will almost certainly want an extra set of hands to help scoop out the cooked fish strips and transfer them to the baking sheet. Fortunately my Mom was there to (enthusiastically) do everything that my batter-covered hands were much too gunky to do. So grab a friend or two, some fresh fish and a beer and make some yummy, crispy tacos!

Quote of the Day: Chance is always powerful. Let your hook always be cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be fish. ~ Ovid

No comments:

Post a Comment