Sometimes someone invents something that gets all of the praise and attention. Other times such genius goes unnoticed. Mr. Fish Taco or whatever the “dudes” name was that put this thought into a reality, and tortilla, was just that – genius.The birthplace of the fish taco was in Ensenada, Mexico, but of course many other cities in Mexico make the same claim. Fish tacos are served in almost every restaurant in Mexico and are also their most popular street food. The concept migrated north to California in the early 80s and has been an American mainstay ever since.The appeal of the fish taco is easy to understand. A flour or corn tortilla is the base, topped with seasoned and boneless filets of fish that are grilled, fried or even raw. A crunchy vegetable, something as simple as iceberg lettuce or as elegant as Watercress, then highlights it. Finally, it is simply dressed with a squeeze of citrus and a spoon of sour cream. The appeal is one thing but the versatility is what makes fish tacos so fun to design and prepare at home. Much like pizza, the thrill of making fish tacos is that the base (tortilla) is like a blank canvas for any type of flavor profile. Let your imagination run wild and experiment with different kinds of fish or other proteins, spice combinations, vegetables and dressings. As with all good inventions and culinary masterpieces, the fish taco has evolved over time. Being so versatile fish tacos can be a fusion of different cultures with great success. The afore mentioned “canvas for flavors”, gives anyone the ability to create a combination that everyone will enjoy.Here is my spin on the fish taco using some Asian influence, enjoy!
Grilled Asian Fish Tacos with Charred Tomato Salsa
Makes 8 Tacos 1 1/2 lbs Mahi Mahi or other flaky white fish
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8 flour tortillas
sour cream or crème fresh, to taste
1 cup brussel sprouts, sliced thin
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 lime, juice of
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 garlic, smashed into a paste
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 cup canola oil
Whisk soy sauce, lime juice, ground ginger, garlic and red pepper in a mixing bowl. Slowly add the oil while whisking until all is incorporated. Reserve two tablespoons of the marinade. Place fish in a shallow dish and pour the remaining marinade over fish. Marinate 15 to 20 minutes. Preheat grill to medium high heat for direct heat grilling.
Charred Tomato Salsa:
4 Roma tomatoes, halved, tossed in oil and seasoned with salt and pepper
1/4 cup red onion, about 1” thick sliced pieces lightly oil and seasoned
2 fresh garlic cloves, peeled
1-2 jalapeno, deseeded and small diced, plus extra-thin sliced for garnish
1 lime, juice of
1/4 cup Cilantro, leaves only
kosher salt/black pepper, to taste
Place the oiled and seasoned onion slices on the grill, char on both sides. Place the tomato halves cut side down on the grill and slightly charred. Flip and grill for another 45 seconds and remove from the grill.
Rough chop onions and tomatoes and place in a food processor with the smashed garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse carefully to a rough consistency, remove and place in a bowl, taste and re-season if necessary. Leave at room temperature while preparing the rest of the dish.
Take fish out of marinade, let excess drip off and place on grill. Grill until fish releases itself from the grill, about 4 to 6 minutes. Flip and continue to grill until just cooked through, about another 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish. Remove fish from grill and let rest for at least 5 minutes.
Toss the sliced brussel sprouts with the two tablespoons of the reserved marinade.
Place the tortillas on the grill for about 30 seconds on both sides, just until soft.
Build the taco by placing a tortilla in your hand curling over the sides, flake off some of the mahi and place in the tortilla, top with charred tomato salsa, marinade dressed brussel sprouts, a drizzle of crème fresh, a squeeze of lime juice and serve.