Kasey Wilson: Fiesta time with fish tacos

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When it comes to festive fare for all ages, one of my favourite menus is a crowd-pleasing Mexican fiesta-style dinner.


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“If you want to get a kid to eat fish, start with tacos,” says Chef David Robertson of the Dirty Apron Cooking School, who created today’s main recipe. “Kids love these, especially with the crunchy batter.”

For more grown-up palates, you can swap out the battered halibut for seared tuna or barbecued trout. Either way, you can skip the cutlery.

For dessert, there’s nothing easier than frosty make-ahead frozen lemon or orange shells filled with citrus sorbet.

Chef David Robertson’s Halibut Fish Tacos with Baja Cream are the perfect centerpiece for a festive family meal or all-ages party.
Chef David Robertson’s Halibut Fish Tacos with Baja Cream are the perfect centerpiece for a festive family meal or all-ages party. Photo by Kevin Clark /PNG

Halibut Fish Tacos with Baja Cream

You can, of course, substitute store-bought flour tortillas and multiply the recipe to feed more guests. Adapted from Gather: A Dirty Apron Cookbook by David Robertson.

Pickled Red Onions & Jalapeños:

2 jalapenos, thinly sliced into rounds


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½ red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup (250 mL) rice vinegar

2 tbsp (25 mL) fresh lime juice

2 tsp (10 mL) kosher salt

Baja Cream:

½ cup (125 mL) mayonnaise

½ cup (125 mL) sour cream

Grated zest and juice of 2 limes

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Flour Tortillas:

2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting

1 ½ tsp (7 mL) kosher salt

1 ½ tsp (7 mL) baking powder

¼ cup (50 mL) lard

Beer Batter:

½ cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour

½ cup (125 mL) cornstarch

1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder

2 tsp (10 mL) kosher salt

1 cup (250 mL) pale ale or lager

To Finish:

4 cups (1 L) oil for deep frying

1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour for dredging

4 oz (120 g) Wild Pacific Halibut, sliced into 1-oz strips

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Grated zest of 1 lemon


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2 cups (500 mL) thinly sliced romaine lettuce

chopped cilantro

2 to 3 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced

1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve

For the Pickled Red Onions & Jalapeños, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerated, covered, for at least several hours or overnight.

For the Baja Cream, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate, covered, until needed.

For the tortillas, combine flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Using your fingers or a fork, cut in lard until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in ½ cup water until a soft dough forms. Add another ¼ cup water, little by little, until the dough forms a ball.

Knead dough on a dry work surface for 2 to 3 minutes, until it’s soft and moist, not wet and sticky, adding a little more flour if needed. Divide dough into 8 to 12 1½-inch balls. Place them on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for a few minutes. Dust dough balls with flour and roll them out into 3- to 4-inch disks. They should be nearly translucent.


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Heat a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add a tortilla and cook for 30 to 40 seconds. Flip over and cook for another 5 seconds. Take care not to overcook or tortilla will be too dry. Repeat with remaining dough. Wrap cooked tortillas in aluminum foil to keep warm.

For beer batter, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in beer until batter is smooth, and set it aside for 5 minutes to rest.

Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep, heavy saucepan to 350° F. Use a thermometer for an accurate reading.

Pour flour into a shallow bowl. Season halibut to taste with salt, pepper and lemon zest and dredge in flour, shaking off the excess.

Dip halibut into beer batter, coating completely. Working in batches, carefully lower fish into the oil and deep-fry for 2 minutes, until batter is crispy and golden brown.


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Cut halibut pieces in half lengthwise and place on a platter. Serve with tortillas, avocados, Baja cream, pickled red onions and jalapenos, lettuce, cilantro and lime wedges.

Makes 8 small tacos

Sherbet-Filled Citrus

3 large oranges, cut in half

6 medium lemons

3 litres assorted citrus-flavoured sherbet

Cut a small slice off one end of the fruit so it sits flat. Cut a slice off the other end large enough so you can fill the orange or lemon. Using a grapefruit knife and small spoon, scoop out the flesh, reserving it for another use.

Fill shells with desired sherbet, mounding it over the top. Cover with foil and freeze. (May be frozen up to 1 month.) Remove from freezer 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 12 sherbet-filled shells

Kitchen Hack: Reviving Tortillas

To make tortillas pliable, stack them on a large microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp dish towel. Microwave on high power for 15 to 30 seconds. Carefully remove the towel and use the tortillas immediately.



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Source: vancouversun.com