Baja Fish Tacos

26 Sep

There’s an amazing burrito place down the street from our apartment that is somewhat legendary in Boston. El Pelon. I love El Pelon. El Pelon used to be located in the Fenway neighborhood in Boston, mere minutes away from the Northeastern University campus where I went to college. I remember many a day when I tried to figure out if I had enough time to walk (or sometimes run) to El Pelon to grab a burrito before my next class. It’s that serious.

Back in the beginning of 2009 the block of businesses that El Pelon was a part of caught on fire and all the businesses were forced to close, including my beloved El Pelon. Devastation is not even the word to describe not only my feelings, but many a college student and grad that loved El Pelon.

Then in March of 2010 they opened up, literally Down.The.STREET from my apartment. Talk about a Hallelujah chorus and angels all around. I was so excited about their opening that I went to their ‘soft’ opening, it was so soft that the paper hadn’t even been removed from the doors. It was a magical evening ladies and gentlemen.

Besides being famous for their El Guapo burrito, they have a cult following when it comes to their fish tacos. I can’t really describe why they are so delicious, be it the deliciously fried cod, or the cool cucumbers and red cabbage, or the killer chile mayo, but it’s a life altering experience people.

That’s where the inspiration for these tacos came from. I found a recipe for Baja Fish Tacos from A Sweet Pea Chef that proved to be a formidable opponent (Steven Colbert anyone? Ok, I’ll stop) to the fish tacos at El Pelon. Plus who doesn’t love homemade Pico de Gallo?

Baja Fish Tacos with Pico De Gallo

Original recipe can be found here

Pico de Gallo:

  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped*
  • 4 sprigs cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cumin

*Important Note: When handling jalapeno peppers, do NOT, I repeat DO NOT proceed to rub your eyes, no matter how itchy they may be without thoroughly washing your hands. I learned that the hard way. Trust.

Combine all ingredients. Place in fridge for a half hour.

Creamy White Dill Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup fat free plain yogurt
  • juice from 1/2 a lime (approx 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp. jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder

Combine and chill in fridge.

For the Fish:

  • 1 lb. fresh white fish, cut into strips of 2-3 oz. portions (I used tilapia)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 head medium cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 8-10 good corn tortillas

On a plate, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, cayenne, garlic powder and black pepper. Then, in a small bowl, combine egg and water. Dip fish fillets in egg mixture, shake out excess and coat liberally with cornmeal mixture. Using a fork, lightly remove excess cornmeal mixture and place on a plate.

Using a saute pan fill with oil to a depth of 1/4 inch and heat on high until hot and then reduce to medium high before placing fish in pan. Cook fish for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Snap. Crackle. Pop

Place cooked fillets on a plate covered with a paper towel to remove excess oil.

Once the fillets have cooled slightly, assemble, and consume immediately.

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