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Why head to the beach, when you can make fish tacos at home?

By Sherry Schie, Chef/Owner of Jazzy Cooking

Beach season is here! OK, it might not be “here in Ohio”, but a lot folks are heading out with the SUV loaded down with the kids, coolers, suitcases, and quite possibly, a boogie board (are those floating things still called that!?), and they are headed to the southern islands.

But, since I’m not going on a beach vacation this year (yes, I’m sad), I decided to bring a little island food to Strasburg, Ohio. How, you might ask? With FOOD! I’m going to share with you my “secret recipe” for the best fish taco this side of the island!

Usually, when my hubby and I go to the beach, we love eating a little local joints - you know, the place where the locals eat. I have to say that I rate seafood restaurants by their fish tacos. If they don’t have a fish taco on their menu, I’m out of there! Seriously, I LOVE fish tacos! LOVE THEM!

So, when our family took a vacation one year to Hawaii, I ate lots of fish tacos. I vowed to learn how to make those wonderful fish tacos right here in my Strasburg kitchen… and I did. Now, you know the star is the fish, because it’s a FISH taco, right? But, the toppings rank right up to either make or break a fish taco.

Fish tacos are nothing more than cooked fish; either fried or blackened (this is my personal favorite!), placed in a flour tortilla, and topped off with fresh slaw or fruit chutney. YUMMO! Very quick and easy to make… oh, and did I mention how healthy these are?

I love the way the Hawaiian locals use all kinds of fresh fruits in their slaws and salads. The tortilla is a nice little wrapper that holds all the goodies, including slaw or chutney for the taco. Personally, I’m a fan of slaw on my fish taco, but I must admit, since writing this chutney recipe, I have a new favorite!

So, instead of packing up the kids, suitcases and boogie boards, just run to the store and get some great quality (this is key, folks!) fish, along with some other ingredients that you will need (see the recipes below!) and celebrate summer… beach season… the fish… local fruits and veggies… celebrate ANYTHING… just make these fish tacos!

Aloha. Until next time,
Chef Sherry

Beach Shack Slaw
2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
3-4 tablespoons hot and sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise

In large bowl, combine cabbage, cilantro, onions, carrots and zucchini. Set aside.

In small bowl, combine chili sauce and mayonnaise. Pour sauce over slaw mixture and gently toss.

Tropical Chutney
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 cup Pineapple, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 jalapeño pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion (red or yellow), diced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine vinegar, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, ground pepper and cayenne pepper in a small saucepan. Reduce by 3/4.

Meanwhile, mix all remaining ingredients in a large glass bowl. Pour reduced mixture over and gently toss.

Blackened Tilapia 

4 Tilapia fillets, boned and dried
1 stick of butter, cubed
1/4 cup blackening spice

In a glass dish, melt butter in microwave. Meanwhile, heat large cast iron skillet on stovetop. Once butter is melted and pan is hot, dip each fillet in melted butter and then in blackening spice. Place fillet in hot skillet - cook only two at a time.

Cook until it begins to flake, approximately 2-4 minutes per side.

Herbed Panko Fried Fish
2 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons basil
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon salt, Kosher or sea salt
4 fish fillets, such as Tilapia
2 eggs, beaten

Heat oil to 350 degrees in fryer or large pan to deep fry fish fillets.

In large bowl, combine Panko, oregano, basil, pepper and salt. Set aside.

In small bowl, beat eggs and set aside.

Dry fish fillets well. Dip in eggs and then in Panko mixture. Gently press into the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere to the fillet. Immediately place in hot oil and fry until golden-approximately 2-3 minutes or until done.

Place fried fish on plate lined with paper towel to drain.

Tue, Jun 5th 2012, 14:29

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