When you're looking for something fast and fun, you can't go wrong with fish tacos. The fish cooks quickly, and with a little shredded cabbage and maybe a sauce or two, you can have a fresh, flavorful dinner on the table in almost no time.
Shrimp tacos with pumpkin seed sauce: This easy dish comes together in less than an hour, the plump shrimp cooked in a simple sauce flavored with toasted pumpkin seeds, olive oil, garlic, jalapeno chiles and fresh cilantro. Serve the shrimp with shredded jicama and cilantro sour cream over tortillas.
Achiote-marinated fish tacos: Achiote-marinated yellowtail is cooked quickly over a griddle or fry pan, the meaty bites piled into warm tortillas with shredded cabbage and smoky chipotle mayonnaise.
You can find the recipes below.
GRILLED HALIBUT SOFT TACOS WITH LIME-GARLIC VINAIGRETTE
Total time: 30 minutes
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/2 cup minced green onions
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet cherry peppers, assorted colors if possible
1 1/2 tablespoons minced serrano or jalapeno pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1. Combine the garlic, green onions, lime juice, peppers, serrano pepper (if using) and salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk until all ingredients are thoroughly blended.
2. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until the vinaigrette has emulsified. Set aside until ready to serve. Makes 1 cup.
4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 to 12 small corn tortillas
1/2 head green cabbage,
shredded or sliced very thin
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1. Heat the grill pan over medium-high heat. Season the halibut with salt and pepper and lightly brush with olive oil. Grill the fillets on each side for about 3 minutes or until the fish flakes. Time can vary depending on the thickness of the halibut fillets. A general rule of thumb is about 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Remove the fish from the pan and allow to rest for a few minutes. Flake into bite-size pieces.
2. Heat the tortillas briefly in an oven (wrapped in foil), over a gas burner or on a cleaned grill pan just until warm, but still soft.
3. Sprinkle pieces of halibut onto a warm tortilla, top with shredded cabbage and spoon some lime-garlic vinaigrette over the top. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Fold tortilla in half and eat while still warm.
Each serving: 482 calories;
41 grams protein; 38 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 19 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 54 mg. cholesterol; 639 mg. sodium.
SHRIMP TACOS WITH PUMPKIN SEED SAUCE
Total time: About 50 minutes
Note: If you would like a spicier pumpkin seed sauce, double the number of chiles.
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 serrano chile, seeded and inner ribs removed
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and inner ribs removed
1/4 large jicama, peeled
1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 small corn tortillas
1. Finely chop about a third of the cilantro to yield 2 tablespoons, setting aside the rest. In a small bowl, mix the chopped cilantro with the sour cream and set aside.
2. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, toast the pumpkin seeds until they pop and turn slightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes; do not let them brown. Set aside briefly to allow to cool.
3. In a food processor or blender, place the pumpkin seeds, olive oil, garlic, salt, chiles, remaining cilantro and one-half cup of water. Blend to a smooth paste.
4. Return the mixture to the sauté pan, add one-half cup of water and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes to develop the flavors. Stir frequently to make sure the sauce doesn't burn and add more water if the sauce thickens too much or too quickly. Meanwhile, shred the jicama using a box grater. Refrigerate until needed.
5. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp. Cover and cook until the shrimp are pink, about 5 minutes, stirring and turning the shrimp occasionally for even cooking.
6. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat and warm the tortillas. Arrange two tortillas per plate, slightly overlapping. Divide the shrimp among the tortillas, add shredded jicama and a spoonful of cilantro sour cream. Serve immediately, with lime wedges.
Each serving: 471 calories; 32 grams protein; 33 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 24 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 185 mg. cholesterol; 365 mg. sodium.
ACHIOTE-MARINATED FISH TACOS
Total time: About 50 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating time
Note: The achiote paste recipe is adapted from "The Essential Cuisines of Mexico" by Diana Kennedy. Annatto seeds are available at Latino markets.
4 rounded tablespoons achiote seeds (also called annatto seeds)
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
12 whole allspice
Mix the spices and grind them in batches in an electric spice or coffee grinder as finely as possible. In a small bowl, stir together the ground spices and enough water to make a stiff paste; we used about 3 tablespoons. You will have more achiote paste than is called for in the recipe. Store it well-wrapped in plastic in the freezer.
1 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 chipotle peppers in adobo, roughly chopped
In a food processor or blender, blend the mayonnaise, garlic, oil, lime juice, salt and chipotle peppers. You will have more chipotle mayonnaise than is called for in the recipe. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons achiote paste
1 pound yellowtail fillet, skin removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 small corn tortillas
1 cup finely shredded cabbage
1 cup chipotle mayonnaise
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, salt and achiote paste. Put the mixture into a 1-gallon sealable plastic bag with the fish. Refrigerate for an hour.
2. On a cast-iron griddle or in a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Scrape some of the extra achiote paste from the yellowtail, then grill the fish, about 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until done. If the fish is cooking too quickly or unevenly, adjust the heat as necessary. Let the fish rest for a few minutes before slicing it thinly across the grain; if the fish breaks apart, that's fine.
3. Warm the tortillas on a pan over medium heat; place on a platter or individual plates, two per person.
4. Divide the fish among the tortillas and top with shredded cabbage and a teaspoonful of chipotle mayonnaise. Serve immediately, with lime wedges.
Each serving: 433 calories; 31 grams protein; 30 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 22 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 68 mg. cholesterol; 345 mg. sodium.