Fish Tacos | WYPR

Fish Tacos

Oct 1, 2019

It's no exaggeration to say that Mexican and Hispanic food have become well established parts of our cuisine. Folks who have traveled south of the border have encountered incredible variations on the rudimentary dishes we can get here.  One of the most popular of authentic dishes to emerge is fish tacos. Chef Jerry Pellegrino points out that Marylanders should be thrilled to find another use for our splendid seafood. 

Jerry suggests that whatever fish you select, you pan fry it and then cut it into long slices that can run the length of the tortilla. Pico de Gallo sauce and Salsa Roja are traditional accompaniments.

The Flour Tortilla

Ingredients

4 cups flour

½ cup lard

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

In a mixing bowl, rub the lard into the flour until it resembles coarse oatmeal. Add the water and stir, using a wooden spoon, until a dough begins to form. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and pliable, about 10 minutes. The dough should be supple but not sticky. If the dough is too sticky continue to knead additional flour into it but avoid overworking the dough. Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces and roll them into balls. Again, cover the balls with a clean dishtowel. Prepare a skillet or cast iron griddle by heating it over medium heat. Using a rolling pin or tortilla press, flatten one of the balls of dough into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Grab the tortilla and place in the palm of one of your hands. With one quick motion, flip the tortilla into the hot skillet. Cook until the tortilla starts to change color, about 15 seconds. Flip it using a metal spatula and cook an additional 30 seconds. The tortilla should start to darken on the edges. Flip it one more time and cook until slightly brown on this side. Remove and keep warm, covered in a warm oven. Repeat until all the balls of dough have been used.

The Corn Tortilla

Ingredients

4 cups Masa Harina

3 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl, combine the masa and the water, using a wooden spoon, until a dough begins to form. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and pliable, about 10 minutes. The dough should be supple but not sticky. If the dough is too sticky continue to knead additional masa into it but avoid overworking the dough. Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces and roll them into balls. Again, cover the balls with a clean dishtowel. Prepare a skillet or cast iron griddle by heating it over medium heat. Using a rolling pin or tortilla press, flatten one of the balls of dough into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Grab the tortilla and place in the

palm of one of your hands. With one quick motion, flip the tortilla into the hot skillet. Cook until the tortilla starts to change color, about 15 seconds. Flip it using a metal spatula and cook an additional 30 seconds. The tortilla should start to darken on the edges. Flip it one more time and cook until slightly brown on this side. Remove and keep warm, covered in a warm oven. Repeat until all the balls of dough have been used.

Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

2 quarts heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut into ¼ inch dice

1 small red onion, cut into ¼ inch dice

2 guajillo chiles, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced

1 lime, juiced

Remove the guajillo chiles from the water and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the stems and seeds and dice the flesh. Add that and the remaining ingredients to a mixing bowl and combine. Season with salt and serve immediately. 

Salsa Roja

Ingredients

2 quarts heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut into ½ inch dice

1 small red onion, cut into ½ inch dice

10 guajillo chiles, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes

2 chipotle chiles, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes

6 cloves garlic, skin on, toasted in a hot skillet

¼ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon Mexican oregano

1 lime, juiced

1 tablespoon sugar

Remove the guajillo & chipotle chilis from the water and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the stems and seeds and chop the flesh. In a large bowl, combine the chilis with all the other ingredients. Using an immersion blender, purée the salsa until smooth. Season with salt and serve.

Roasted Salsa Verde

Ingredients

10 tomatillos, peeled and cut into quarters

1 large white onion cut into 1-inch dice

5 jalapeños, cut in half, seeds and veins removed

6 garlic cloves

1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Place the tomatillos, onion, jalapeños and garlic on a baking sheet and roast in a 400°F until the tomatillos have broken down and the onions are slight brown on the edges, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Grind the roasted vegetables along with the cilantro leaves in a molcajete until smooth and creamy. Season with salt.