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Monday, 7 January 2013
Cajun Spiced Crunchy Fish Tacos with two Salsas
While it was a quick and overwhelming rise to ubiquity, American food of the North and South varieties aren't in any hurry to fall in the same fashion. Fonda are soon to be opening their Prahran location, rumoured to be much larger (according to a source who has seen the floor plans) and the masses are really only just starting to get into good ol' soul food with Gumbo Kitchen and the new pop-up aptly named 'South' making an appearance at The People's Market.
Of course, I am the first in line to try any new American/Mexican eateries. Before, I found it really tough going between Phoenix and Melbourne as every so often I would crave a certain food or restaurant just to remember I was in the wrong city. The ever increasing availability of American food has certainly made coming back from the US easier. But don't get me wrong - I am also very excited to see what the New Year will bring us - what cuisine will we focus on this year? Australia's chefs have often been lauded as some of the most creative as we have such a multicultural nation, inspiration comes from everywhere. We also have any possible ingredient available to us and our leading chefs are not afraid to experiment! We certainly do have it good here...
But I'll save you from my hypothesising and get onto the food. These tacos eventuated from a pile of left over cajun spiced masa mix we made to crumb shrimp for a quick monday night po'boy dinner, and a mix of Italian and Mexican influenced salsas. Gumbo Kitchen does do a good po'boy but the problem with Melbourne's food trucks is they are just so darn hard to track down! You have to be flexible and patient, but if you want a po'boy and you want it now, you have just got to make it yourself. They are super easy - but that's a story for another post....
These tacos use small masa harina tortillas but of course you could use pre-bought tortillas. But.. nothing beats fresh tortillas! But if you can't be bothered to make them, make sure to buy soft tacos or CORN tortillas (small). As you can tell from the rough edges of my tortillas I don't have a press - but they taste the same, just look a little more rustic!
Cajun Spiced Crunchy Fish Tacos
Cajun Spice Mix
Makes roughly 1/4 cup
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoons dried thyme
Mix all together and store in an airtight container for up to 1 year.
Cajun-spice Crunchy Fish
4 small fillets of cod (or another white soft fleshed fish)
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup masa harina
1 tablespoon cajun seasoning (recipe above)
Mix flours and seasoning together in a bowl, and crack the egg into another bowl. Whisk. Chop the fish into bite sized chunks and dip first into the egg and then into the masa mix. Fry in vegetable or another neutral flavoured oil until golden brown and crisp, flip and repeat. Removed to a plate covered in paper towels and let drain to remove some of the oil.
1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped roughly
3/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped roughly
1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons capers
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced (add more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, blend basil, parsley, garlic, capers and half of the oil to a food processor. Pulse until blended. Add remainder of oil and lemon juice, blend to combine and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more lemon juice if required.
4 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped into chunks
1/2 red onion, chopped into small pieces
1/3 bunch coriander (cilantro), chopped roughly
1/2 cucumber, chopped into small pieces
2 spring onions, sliced thinly on a diagonal
3 minced garlic cloves
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to season
Chipotle hot sauce to taste (matter of preference, add as much or as little as you like)
Combine all ingredients and stir together. Taste - you may need a little more lime, hot sauce, garlic - it is all a matter of preference so experiment a little here. Leave to set for 15 minutes before assembling tacos.
To assemble tacos:
12 small tortillas (make your own recipe here) or soft taco shells
1 grated carrot
Warm your tortillas, or if you are cooking them, keep them warm after cooking by placing on a plate and covering with a tea towel. Grab some skewers to hold tacos together once assembled, and start by placing one tortilla on your plate. Scatter some lettuce, carrot and then a few pieces of your warm crunchy fish. Top with a few spoonfuls of salsa fresca and then drizzle a spoonful of salsa verde on top. Grab your skewer, and skewer the taco together at the top so it hangs below the skewer. Repeat, three tacos per skewer (careful not to lift off the plate too much so the fillings don't fall out!).
Serve quickly before your fish goes soggy and tortillas cool too much, it is lovely to have little warm crunchy bits of fish amongst all that fresh, cool salad.
Cajun Spiced Crunchy Fish Tacos with two Salsas