I love to cook. I love to create dishes. I do what I do pretty well. But I get stuck in ruts. I add new recipes from time to time, but not nearly as many as I should. We need more variety! And I need a wider variety of experience.
So I've decided to try to make one new dish a week. It doesn't have to be complicated. Just something that's not part of the all-too-regular menu.
Last night, I made fish tacos. We've been making tacos lately out of refried beans and Yves "ground round," but I wanted to branch out. Sweetie loves fish tacos.
I had bought some halibut cheeks at the fish store. Halibut is a local fish for us. Fillets and steaks are expensive even so, but halibut cheeks not so much. The cheeks are small pieces that come from the head area of the large fish, very tasty and with no pin bones. They cost very little more than other fish I might have bought, such as cod or tilapia. And the pieces were already the right size for tacos.
Since fish tacos are usually soft tacos, I found some medium-size whole-grain tortillas. I like to stay away from "white" when I can. We had some purple cabbage left over from the last time we had tacos. The darned stuff keeps forever in the crisper! I had also bought some nice tomatoes at the farmers market, and I got some jack cheese for topping as well.
I almost never deep fry. I don't have a deep fryer. But I have a fairly deep skillet, and I figured I could shallow fry the fish without using too much oil. Since I almost never deep fry, I wasn't sure what to use for a coating. I had thought about using thinned yogurt and panko or flour, like for catfish, but that didn't seem quite right. I thought of tempura. Even though these were tacos, I figured that might work quite well. So I went on the web and found a simple tempura better recipe. Dead simple! I had no idea.
I beat an egg. I added a cup of ice water and then sifted in a cup of white flour (sometimes you need white). I used a small whisk to mix it briefly, since you don't want to develop the gluten in the flour. I dipped the fish in the batter and set the pieces into the hot oil. Easy peasy! When the fish was done, I drained the pieces on paper towels and assembled the tacos. The fish was delicately crunchy, and the whole thing tasted quite good.
There are some things I have to remember for next time. I hadn't seasoned the fish pieces before I dipped them in batter. Maybe what I need to do is add seasoning to the batter. There are variations on tempura, and other batters I could use (such as beer batter). The fish tasted fine, but could have used a bit of seasoning. Perhaps more importantly, I need to make a spicy remoulade! Not being the fish taco eater in the family, I hadn't realized that the salsa you put on other tacos isn't really the right stuff for these. It worked OK, but a spicy remoulade would have been better. I mean, duh—tartar sauce with fish!
But I really liked the combination of crispy tempura in a taco. There is a lot of Mexican-Asian fusion going on right now. Maybe I should get more into that. Kimchi tacos are all the rage around here.
This was just a humble beginning to my project. Since the weather has turned cooler, I really want to expand my winter comfort food selection. I make a vegetarian minestrone, a black bean soup, a lentil soup, and a chick pea curry (with broccoli and yams), but I'd like to make more kinds of soups. With both of us often busy, having soup around with some nice bread or rolls is a good idea for winter. And that hints at another part of my project—bread baking. It's been a long time.
If I really get this going, I might need another blog! But really, I see a blog like my friend Vanessa's Groo-V Foody and I know I have a long way to go.