Fish Tacos

For many years of my life, I did not eat fish – perhaps some popcorn shrimp every now and then, or the dreaded “fish sticks”.  I grew up in mid-America, and the only real fish I was introduced to was the trout we caught in the little stream while camping in the Rocky Mountains during our summer vacations.  I loved the fishing part, but to be honest, I really did not like the fish.  Because they were small fish, we did not fillet them, so when put on my plate they still had the skin and bones.  It was so much trouble to eat because of all the tiny bones we’d have to pick through, and well, it tasted…. fishy. 😦

After I got married, I soon realized, unlike myself, my husband LOVED fish.  Not just fish, but all seafood!  We honeymooned in Bar Harbor, Maine and for every dinner he ordered some type of seafood.  One evening, I remember him ordering a large plate filled with steamed muscles.  He did get me to try one and, well…. let’s just say I haven’t had one since (that was 11 years ago!).  While there, I did enjoy my share of seafood, but it consisted of the “safe” choices shrimp, crab claws, and lobster claws (personally don’t care for the tail).  I will never forget the first time he went deep-sea fishing and brought back several pounds of fresh fish – Red Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack.  I had no idea what to do with it.  Because it had only been partially cleaned, and considering the fact that I don’t do skin or bones, I had to “re-clean” the fish to my liking before storing it all in the freezer.  Then, the challenge came.  I couldn’t possibly just let the fish remain in the freezer considering that my husband caught it.  Trying my best to be a good wife, I headed to the local library and checked out every seafood cookbook I could find!  I tried several recipes… some good, some not so good, and I learned a little about cooking fish.  For many years though, I still had it in my mind that fish was difficult to work with, had to be a gourmet dish, and really would never be all that great to taste.

Now, almost 11 years later, my tune has changed!  I now really enjoy seafood.  There are some things I still don’t care for, but for the most part, I will eat any of it.  One other thing I’ve learned through the years, is that fish doesn’t have to be gourmet.  I actually like it best when it is in simple every-day dishes.  Like these fish tacos.  I was first introduced to fish tacos a little over a year ago when we moved near the Atlantic Coast.  I had never thought of pairing seafood with Mexican food, but it really goes well together!  We enjoy fish tacos at various restaurants, but I also love to make them at home.

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For our fish tacos, I usually use Tilapia – a very mild tasting fish.  First, rinse and pat dry the fish filets, and then season with salt, pepper, and cumin.

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Heat a griddle or skillet to medium heat and drizzle a little olive oil in the pan.  When heated, put the fish on the pan seasoned side down.  Now season the other side of the fish with salt, pepper, and cumin.  Remember, it is okay to use a little extra seasoning because some will cook off and remain in the pan.  You’ll want to cook the fish approximately 3 minutes on each side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Build your fish taco with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

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On our tacos, we like to add a lot of fresh ingredients.  Here we started with baby spinach, black beans, fish, Pico de Gallo, and avocado on top of gluten-free flour tortillas.  We also like them on traditional flour tortillas.

I’ve heard that traditionally you are not supposed to put cheese on any seafood, but I have had wonderful fish burritos with cheese sauce on them.  I think as long as there are a lot of fresh veggies, it will help balance the cheese and seafood flavors.  Feel free to try any toppings you like on other tacos or burritos.  Try something new and have fun with it!

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