Taste Scene

Michael Devlin

You’ll feel like you invented them

A friend made me some fish tacos last week and I swear to God, I was all a-swoon with delectation.

With a simple tomato salsa, some crispy fish and a little crema all wrapped up in a tortilla, I ate three all to myself and had I been at home, I would have eaten far more – the greedy gut that I am.

You may remember that fish tacos featured in this column some time ago but after Ronan’s magnificent lunch I’ve decided to re-feature. Also, this version is for Baja fish tacos, which is kinda different, as the fish is battered and fried.

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The very essence of summer, every time I eat one of these I can picture myself languishing in the sunshine outside a cantina somewhere on the Baja peninsula, drinking beer and scoffing these two-bite tacos like I’d invented them.

As it happens, even eating fish tacos in our kitchen at home when it’s drizzling outside is a joy. Oozing chipotle sauce, with a crunchy and spiky red cabbage slaw and maybe a pineapple chunk or two, it’s still feels like I’m an inventor – an inventor of joy!
“Hear yer man? An inventor of joy? Is his head cut?”

Actually, it’s not.

Well, I don’t think so – not yet, any way.

You hear me blowing about food all the time, such and such is great and this and that is deadly, but I’m telling you now: You need fish tacos in your life.

INGREDIENTS (SERVES 2)
Slaw
200g of red or white cabbage, shredded
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 tbsps of cider vinegar
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
scant half tsp of salt
small bunch of roughly chopped coriander (optional)

Sauce
3 heaped tbsps of mayo
juice of half a lime
pinch of grated lime zest
tbsp of Cholula Chipotle

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Batter
225g of plain flour
1 tsp of salt
grinding of black pepper
225ml of cold beer (Corona would work)

Fish
oil (vegetable, rapeseed or whatever)
500g of white fish (I used cod), cut into thick fish-finger-like chucks
* you’ll also need six or so soft corn tacos and tissues, trust me on the tissues.

THE PLAN

This looks like a mission but it’s not really. Have a beer as you go and all will be fine.

Start by making the slaw: Add all the slaw ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

Next make the sauce: Add all of these ingredients to a smaller bowl and mix well.

Then make the batter: Dump the flour, salt and pepper into a bowl and combine. Then, begin adding the beer, whisking as you go. You might not need all the beer but basically, you want a batter that has the consistency of double cream. It doesn’t matter if there are a few small lumps.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan – I put about half a inch into the pan – and bring to a medium to high
heat.

When hot, using tongs to cut down on messy hands, lift one piece of fish at a time, dunk in the batter coating on both sides and then add to the pan.Work with half of your fish chunks so as not to overcrowd the pan.

Give each chuck about two minutes on each side, until golden and irresistible and then drain on kitchen paper.
Repeat until all the fish is fried.

ASSEMBLY!

Spread a layer of sauce onto a tortilla, top with a spoonful or so of the slaw and then add a couple of fish chunks – tah-dah! – fish tacos.

If you were of a mind, you could also add those chunks of pineapple I mentioned or even lettuce or sliced radishes or tomato salsa or jalapeno slices.

Basically, you can’t go wrong.

Now all you have to do is picture yourself outside that cantina in the sunshine. Although, with the help of these bad boys, that shouldn’t be too difficult. Tah-dah!

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