Gourmet Fish Taco Recipe
This fish taco dish is healthy, flavorful and easy to make. I cooked cod fillets en papillote, which just means that I wrapped the fish in paper and baked it in the oven. The pocket created by the parchment paper acts as a steam chamber and let the fish infuse with whatever ingredients you place inside. For this recipe I flavored the fish with garlic, ginger, fresh kumquat and creeping red thyme. I assembled the tacos with a slightly adapted version of yesterday’s creamy coleslaw recipe and some sweet preserved kumquats.
This is the meal that Chef Doreen described to me by email, except Doreen used red snapper. Everyone loved it, and I'll definitely be making this again over the summer. It’s really a perfect recipe for picnics because you can cook everything ahead of time and assemble right before eating. The cod turned out great, but really any flaky fish will work.
If you want to serve veggie tacos at the same time, check out my soy chorizo version.
Yields: 4 servings4 (6-ounce) cod fillets
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or regular salt)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 teaspoons ginger garlic paste (click on the link for the recipe)
2 cloves garlic, sliced paper-thin
8 fresh kumquats
2 teaspoons pink, green and black peppercorn medley
2 sprigs creeping red thyme (or regular thyme), torn in half
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 taco shells
1 cup shredded Romaine lettuce leaves
2 cups red cabbage coleslaw (click on the link for the recipe)
½ cup preserved kumquats, thinly sliced
½ cup fried onions
For the buttemilk ranch dressing: You could use an egg-based mayonnaise ranch dressing or make an egg-free dressing (click on the link). I slightly modified the ranch dressing. Just substitute finely chopped red onions for the melted blue cheese as cheese doesn't pair well with fish and citrus.
Prepping the cod fillets:
Pat dry the fillets using paper towels. Season the fish with salt and cayenne pepper on both sides. Add the ginger garlic paste. Place into a zip-top bag. Drizzle with olive oil. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 500°F.
Searing the fish:
Remove the fish from the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking to bring it back to room temperature. Pat dry one more time. Season with more kosher salt.
Brush a non-stick pan with little olive oil. Add 1 clove of garlic and cook until it is slightly golden. Add the fish fillets and sear them on one side. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
Wrapping the fish papillote-style:
Cut 4 fresh kumquats into thin slices. Cut the other kumquats in half.
Using a large spatula, transfer each fish fillet to a piece of parchment paper, seared side down. Garnish with fresh kumquat slices, whole peppercorns and a sprig of thyme. Juice the remaining kumquats over the fish and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cover with another piece of parchment paper. Seal the sides by twisting both paper edges together. Place 4 packages of fish fillets on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and cook for about 10-12 minutes. Do NOT over-cook. Remove the pan from the oven and check doneness. The fish should be opaque white and not translucent. If the fish is not cooked through, crimp the edges of parchment paper again and continue to bake for 3-4 minutes. Unwrap the packets and transfer the fish onto a platter. Discard the sprigs of thyme and kumquats. Let the fish rest for at least 15 minutes before assembling the dish. Flake the fish into large pieces using a fork.
Assemble the tacos. On a serving platter, place the taco shells. Spoon a layer of red coleslaw. into the shells For each individual taco, add a layer fish. Add more buttermilk ranch dressing from the coleslaw (or crème fraîche) if you like. Cover with shredded lettuce. Sprinkle with preserved kumquats and finish with fried onions. Repeat until all the tacos are filled.
Count 3 tacos per person.
Serve immediately; otherwise the taco shells will turn soggy.
Serve with guacamole and salsa on the side.
If you want a creamier or more tart flavor, use crème fraîche or sour cream if the calories aren't an issue.
I like to pre-sear the fish fillets on top of the stove; this will create a caramelized crust.
You could substitute any other flaky, firm-fleshed fish such as swordfish or tuna. For a breaded version (beer battered, then deep fried), use tilapia, rubio or wahoo fish. It's not as healthy, but so good!
I wrapped the fish papillote-style. The exact term used is "en papillote". The material generally used is parchment paper but you could also use aluminum foil. However, make sure to use heavy duty foil to prevent the sheets from tearing too easily.Published By: on April 22, 2010.