Excitement ripples through the Casa del Picky Eaters this week: we just booked our next holiday. We’re going to a wedding in Minneapolis in September, and will fly from there down to Los Angeles, California, for ten days of letting our movie and TV geekery all hang out. In celebration of what is probably our most advance-planned holiday ever, I made fish tacos.
Baja fish tacos are a Mexican dish, originating from Baja California, the Mexican state immediately to the south of California, USA. However, like so much of Mexican cuisine, they’ve been warmly embraced north of the border, and fish taco stands are a popular street food option across that southwestern corner of the US. I had finally picked up a packet of the Newburn Bakehouse gluten free wraps from Tesco at the weekend which I thought would sub very nicely for the flour tortillas for me, and B got the Old El Paso version.
Baja Fish Tacos (enough for two hearty appetites but easily scaleable, as this is total party food)
Big dollop of mayonnaise
Double dollop of creme fraiche
Some garlic salt
The juice of a lemon quarter
A quarter of a white cabbage, shredded with a mandoline or some nifty knife skills
Two large salad tomatoes
A red chilli
A couple of handfuls of roughly chopped coriander
A little drizzle of EVOO
Sea salt, to taste
260g white fish fillets – I used haddock; we are in the North of England, after all
One medium egg, beaten
A cup of masa harina (yellow maize flour with a distinct corn-y taste. Don’t confuse with the flavourless cornflour you use as a thickener)
A few shakes of cayenne pepper
A few shakes of garlic salt
Flour tortillas and or gluten free wraps, depending on who you’re cooking for, wrapped in foil and warmed in a hot oven for 5-10 minutes
Mix together the mayonnaise, creme fraiche, lemon juice and some of the garlic salt. Cover and chill until you’re ready to serve.
To make the salsa, finely chop your chilli and shallot. Fillet the tomatoes, then roughly chop. Peel the avocado and chop into dice. Mix it all together, along with the chopped coriander, lime juice, a generous sprinkle of salt and just a dash of the oil.
Mix the masa harina, cayenne pepper and some more garlic salt into a wide, shallow bowl. Line this up next to your hob, and put another bowl with the beaten egg in next to it. Cut your fish into goujons (if you’re feeling fancy) or fingers (if you’re too hungry to get fancy). Now is also the time to put the wraps to the oven, assuming you want them warm.
Finally, get a large frying pan up to medium-high heat and add enough groundnut oil so it comes about half a centimetre up the side of the pan. When the oil is nice and hot and shimmering a little on top, take a goujon/finger, dip it into the beaten egg, then cover in the masa harina mix. Place carefully into the hot oil. Repeat until you’ve run out of space in the pan – but don’t crowd them in: leave decent gaps between or you’ll bring the oil temperature down and end up with oily fish (and not the heart-healthy kind). Turn the pieces in the pan until they’re that appetising golden-brown colour. Remove to a plate lined with kitchen roll to drain and keep warm while you finish the rest of the fish.
To serve: place the cream sauce, salsa and shredded cabbage in the centre of the table. Put the goujons/fingers in the middle of the warmed wraps on plates and allow everyone to pile on their own toppings at will.
I seriously can’t get over how good these are. I made them last night, and I’d be doing it again tonight if I hadn’t got some lamb out of the freezer already. The Newburn Bakehouse wraps worked brilliantly; they genuinely roll like real flour tortillas should, and the slightly doughy texture was lovely with the crispy, flaky fish, crunchy cabbage and juicy salsa. Overall, this was damn good. Try it yourself: you will not regret it!