Saturday, July 21, 2012

Taco Night

The Texan loves fish tacos. Like, to the point where I wouldn't be surprised if he up and moved to Baja and grew his hair all long and stringy and started wearing board shorts every day.

The first time he suggested we eat them, I wasn't altogether sure I'd like them, much less love them. I admit now that I do love them, but there are three problems with them.

1. Our favorite kind involves fried fish.

2. Fish is loaded with lead.

3. Many popular varieties of fish are overfished, or come from poorly managed fish farms.

On a weekend when the Texan happened to be out of town, my neighbor made fish tacos that offered a compromise to Problem Number 1. She breaded the fish filets in panko-style breadcrumbs, and then baked them in the oven. The breadcrumbs created the textural appeal of fried fish without all the fat and cholesterol. She sliced them into strips to serve, along with cabbage slaw, avocado slices, and lime quarters to squirt on top.

I liked them so much that I made them the next day for my dad, substituting shrimp for the white fish and adding a black bean-corn mixture to the fixings, as well as a little bit of jarred salsa. He seemed to like them, and they were ready in a ridiculously short time.

For a quick dinner before a date at the ballpark this week, I decided to make the fish tacos for the guy who loves them the most. I used shrimp again (I bought the 16-20 size, which I think is a little too big; in the future I'll use the next-smaller size), sauteeing it quickly in a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and a teensy bit of cayenne.

I couldn't remember exactly how my neighbor made the slaw, so I just sliced cabbage very thinly, added some cilantro, and then lemon juice, S & P, and an even teensier bit of cayenne. I think she added either yogurt or sour cream to hers, but I don't use dairy if I can avoid it.

I sauteed some green bell pepper with a bit of onion in some olive oil and S & P, sliced some avocado, and boiled an ear of corn, and put them in individual bowls to be used according to taste. I also had a ripe mango and some peaches just waiting to be used, so I diced those, added some cilantro, onion, lemon juice, S & P, and a teensy bit of cayenne to make a fruit salsa with a little kick.

The fruit salsa adds the perfect amount of moisture to the tacos, without becoming soggy and drippy.

He loved them. What surprised me the most was that he also loved the fruit salsa, because he is not the Number One Fan of either mango or peaches. Granted, I had just found his new favorite chip at Berkeley Bowl -- a blue corn-quinoa-chia-maca salt-free chip -- so he had reason to eat many of them, but he's perfectly happy eating the chips plain so he must have actually, like, liked it. 

The only way to deal with Problem Number 2 is to eat fish sparingly. This would put a definite cramp in the Texan's Baja style, but while we still live in northern California, this is Just The Way It Is.  And as for Problem Number 3, I screwed up this time around. Not only were the shrimp I bought too big, but they were wild-caught from Mexico, which, according to my Seafood Watch app, is not a well-managed source of seafood. Think tons, literally, of sea turtle and small fish bycatch. Had I bought the smaller ones, I would have purchased US farm-raised shrimp, which is one of the most sustainable options.   See what happens when I get all greedy?

No comments:

Post a Comment