We fell in love with real tacos during a trip to Sayulita. I say real, because the tacos that we eat in the states, is nothing like the ones we had in Mexico. At home tacos are always full of cheese, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, and a few scrappy tomatoes. The tacos we had in Mexico where made with the freshest ingredients from the protein all the way to the toppings which did not include cheese, sour cream or guac. Depending on the stand we ate at, some where made with a savory slaw or pickled vegetables. One thing that was always the same was the savory, grilled meat or fish, and the lightly spicy creme. These fish tacos are as good as what we were eating on the streets in Sayulita.
I remember one particular night of taco gorging fondly. We found this little taco stand, just off the main street, next to a liquor store, and it wasn’t anything fancy. Plastic tables and chairs, dirt under our feet, and a young kid, grilling away.
He told us to go across the street, grab some beer, come back, order some tacos, and then sit. Yes, all in that order. Like most somewhat cautious “Americans”, we only ordered a couple tacos at first; after all, he was cooking in the dirt.
We sat down, and he brought them over. First bite, with caramelized beef fat running down our faces, and spicy, pickled peppers dancing on our tongues, we were hooked. We ended up sitting there for a couple of hours, drinking beer, and ordering more and more tacos. It was the perfect night.
This recipe is not from Mexico, but rather a Bill Granger inspired one. It is very close, to what we were eating in Sayulita. Lightly marinaded fish, grilled until slightly crispy, and then nestled into a corn tortilla and covered with a spicy cucumber and tomato salad, with just a drizzle of savory creme. Pass the beer, and you are all set for a take back to sunny Mexico with these amazing rock cod fish tacos.
Recipe: Fish Tacos with Cucumber Salad
*inspired by a trip to Sayulita and Bill Granger’s Fish Burrito recipe
**made 5 tacos, perfect for two people
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lb fish white fish, used rock cod
Place all of the spices into a food processor, while it is running, drizzle in olive oil. Mixture will be paste like.
Coat fish with the mixture, and let sit, at room temperature, for 30 minutes.
Slice the fish into strips.
Heat a non-stick grill pan over medium heat until hot.
Add the fish strips in a single layer, and cook until golden; about 1 – 2 minutes per side.
Remove from the pan, and set on a cookie sheet, in an oven set at 200.
Continue cooking all of the fish.
While the fish is cooking, place the tortillas in the oven, to warm through; about 5 – 10 minutes.
To serve, put a layer of fish on a tortilla, add some of the cucumber salad, and drizzle with the lime creme.
Recipe: Cucumber Salad
1 cucumber, peeled, sliced thinly, seeds removed
2 tomatoes, cut into small pieces
5 green onions, sliced thinly
handful cilantro, torn
1/2 lime, juiced
1 small green chili, seeded, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
- Cut the cucumber lengthwise. Peel the tough outer skin, scoop out the seeds, and slice into thin slices.
- Put into a bowl with everything but the cilantro leaves.
- Just before serving stir in the cilantro leaves.
Recipe: Lime Creme
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1/2 cup whole fat mayonnaise
1 lime, zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
kosher salt to taste
In a small bowl ad all of the ingredients except salt; stir.
Season to taste with salt.