Recipe: British Columbia Fish Tacos are tasty, colorful and fun to make

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I love making tacos and a big part of their appeal is the myriad ways to fill them. Each time I can have fun and put a tasty new spin on how I’m going to make them.

When deciding which ingredients to use, I’ll start by selecting what the main element of the taco will be and go from there. This time I chose fish because the BC fish fillets I saw at the store were glistening with freshness and I knew they would be gorgeous to use in a taco.

I purchased BC lingcod, but as you will see in my recipe, redfish, also known as Pacific snapper, and halibut fillets could also be used. To prepare the fish, I cut it into small pieces that would fit well in a taco, marinated them quickly in olive oil, citrus juice and spices, then roasted them in oven. Before doing this, however, I prepared the other toppings for the tacos, letting the color, taste, and texture guide me as to what they would be.

Many tacos have a form of salsa added, just like mine: avocado salsa verde. It was made by mixing chunks of ripe avocado with things like jalapeño pepper, cilantro, seasonings, and tomatillos.

Tomatillos, sold in the produce section of some grocery stores, like tomatoes, are part of the nightshade family. They are about the size of plums and grow inside a paper envelope which is removed before preparing them. Tomatillos can ripen to yellow, but they are most often picked and sold while still green and more acidic in taste, with hints of lemon, apple and herbs in their taste profile – flavors which work well with the avocado and rich tasting fish used in my tacos.

At this point, I had light-colored fish and a vibrant green salsa in my tacos, and I thought something reddish and orange would complete their look. So I made pickled, peeled and diced red onions from the ripe mango, and added them to my tacos as well. These tart, sweet and fruity flavors pair well with fish and avocado salsa verde. As you can see in today’s photo, they also made the tacos look pretty when put together.

For extra richness, I added small dollops of sour cream to my tacos along with crumbled chunks of cheese, which could be queso fresco, feta, or soft goat cheese, depending on your preference.

The fish can be cut up, and the avocado salsa verde and pickled onions prepared several hours in advance. Just keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to flavor and cook the fish and serve the tacos. If you’re looking for a drink to serve with tacos, I can attest that margaritas are the perfect accompaniment.

Fish tacos with avocado, mango and pickled red onion salsa verde

BC fish fillets are sliced, seasoned, baked and served wrapped in warm tortillas, with a savory array of toppings.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 10 to 11 minutes

Makes: Four (three tacos each) to six (two tacos each) servings

12 soft corn tortillas (six inches)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp orange

1 teaspoon of honey

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, or to taste

600 grams of lingcod, redfish (also called Pacific snapper) or halibut fillets

• salt, to taste

• Marinated red onions (see recipe below)

• Avocado Salsa Verde (see recipe below and Eric’s options)

3/4 cup fresh ripe mango, cut into small cubes, or to taste

• sour cream and cilantro sprigs, to taste

100 grams queso fresco, feta cheese or soft goat cheese, crumbled or to taste (optional)

Cut two pieces of aluminum foil about 12 inches long. Stack six tortillas in the center of each piece of foil. Wrap tortillas in foil and set aside for now.

Combine oil, juices, honey, chili powder, cumin and hot pepper sauce in medium bowl. Cut the fish fillets into pieces about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide, removing any bones/skin you find, if any. Add the fish to the olive oil mixture, stir to combine and let marinate while you preheat your oven to 425 F. While the oven is heating, also set the taco toppings, pickled onions, salsa verde d’or avocado, mango, sour cream, cilantro sprigs and crumbled ingredients. cheese, if any, in serving bowls.

When the oven is hot, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the fish in a single layer on the baking sheet, drizzle with the remaining olive oil mixture in the bowl, then season with salt. Cook the fish for 5 minutes. Place the foil wraps in the oven and bake 5 to 6 minutes more, or until the fish is cooked through and the tortillas are warmed through.

To serve, lay out the fish, unwrap the tortillas, and let diners top their tortillas, as desired, with the fish and taco toppings.

Eric’s options: If you don’t want to make avocado salsa verde, you can simply serve the tacos with a jar of store-bought salsa verde (green salsa) and a few cubes of ripe avocado. Salsa verde is sold in the Mexican food section of most supermarkets.

Green avocado salsa

A bright green salsa made by mixing ripe avocado with fresh tomatillos, cilantro, jalapeño pepper and other tasty things.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: None

Yield: about a cup and a quarter

4 small to medium tomatillos (about 100 grams)

1 large ripe avocado, quartered lengthwise, separated, pitted and peeled

2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeño pepper, or to taste

1 tbsp + 1 tsp lime juice, or to taste

1 teaspoon honey, or to taste

2 tablespoons water, more if needed

1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons finely chopped white or yellow onion

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Remove the husks from the tomatillos, wash them in cold water, then pat them dry. Cut the tomatillos into cubes and place them in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until smooth. Dilute the avocado salsa verde with a little more water, if you find it too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired, by adding more lime juice or some of the other ingredients listed. Transfer the avocado salsa verde to an airtight jar and refrigerate until ready to serve. The salsa will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.

pickled red onions

Blanching the onions in boiling water before making these quick pickles mellows out their flavor, creating a zesty, well-textured, not too onion-heavy condiment to use in fish or other tacos.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: three minutes

Makes: a cup

1 small to medium (about 200 grams) red onion

1/2 cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

Pour four cups of water into a saucepan, heat over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. As it heats up, cut the onion in half. Thinly slice each half onion, then cut into single-slice pieces.

When the water boils, add the sliced ​​onions, stir them, then turn off the heat. Let the onions steep in boiling water for two minutes. Pour the onions into a colander and let drain for five minutes.

Pack the onions in a 1 cup (250 ml) canning jar. Place the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Gently pour this mixture over the onions. Let the onions cool to room temperature. Now close the jar and refrigerate the onions for at least four hours. Onions will keep for a week or more in the refrigerator.

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Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. Its columns appear in the Life section on Wednesday and Sunday.

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