I hope you are enjoying your summer as much as I am. It's been beautiful here, a mix of cool days as well as your occasional scorchers. While work and life continue in their busy fashion, there is still this sense of unwinding and relaxation that comes with the warm weather. Leisurely dinners outdoors that stretch on into dusk, picnics on the weekends, and time spent in the garden picking fresh vegetables and herbs.
The past few weekends have been filled with family visits, which has been such a pleasure. We love entertaining, and sharing the joys and tastes of summer with those we love most has been fabulous. Last weekend we made one of our all time favorites, introduced to me by a dear college friend - Fish Tacos. I've never met anyone who does not like a fish taco. They are simply delicious. Yet the key is to fry them, not grill (this is not the time to try and be healthy - save that for another day.) Unfortunately, if you've ever fried indoors, you know the smell of oil that seems to cling to every article of clothing, making you feel as though you've just left McDonalds, not your own kitchen. Add summer heat and humidity on top of that, and cooking indoors is the last thing you want to do.
But this is where brilliance struck - we had the great idea to try frying on the grill, and it worked out perfectly. All you need is a cast iron skillet. The result is flaky fish with a crispy, golden batter. Served with a spicy, smoky Chipotle Sauce (we like to refer to it as "THE SAUCE"), they are sure to be an instant summer favorite.
The recipe is effortless to prepare, and can easily be doubled for a large crowd (recipe is a variation from one found on allrecipes.com):
1 lb fresh white fish (cod, tilapia, haddock etc)
1-2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup flour
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup beer
Pour vegetable oil into cast iron skillet and place on grill, closing the top. Preheat grill until oil is hot.
To make the batter, combine all dry ingredients. Add egg and beer, and whisk until smooth.
Cut fish into pieces and coat well with beer batter. Add fish pieces to hot oil, being careful not to burn yourself. Fry fish in batches until golden, turning each piece after a few minutes. Place fish on a paper towel after cooked to absorb any extra oil.
Serve immediately with warm tortillas topped with shredded cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and plenty of Chipotle Sauce (recipe below).
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1-2 canned Goya Chipotle Peppers
1 or 2 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
Fresh chopped parsley or cilantro, to taste (optional)
Blend all ingredients in food processor or blender. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
The tacos paired perfectly with our most recent homebrew batch - a Rye IPA. Cheers to summer!