One of my favorite things about the being on the Baja Peninsula is fish tacos, I love the simplicity of side toppings and the fresh fish. Sometimes I think we try and cram too much into our tacos at home… Seasoned ground beef, Cheese, Sour Cream, Pico de Gallo, Lettuce, Heavy, Clunky etc etc. The beauty of the tacos down here is the restraint, which keeps them light, fresh, and easy to eat. Here are a few examples of the taco fillings I’ve found here in Baja.
Pickled Red Onions
1 Onion Sliced into thin rings, 1 cup light vinegar or enough to cover the onions, you can use rice, cider, or white wine vinegar. 2 Tbl. Sugar, 1 Tsp salt, then anything else like garlic or peppers you would like to add although these things aren’t crucial and I seldom try to put too much in to these onions. Heat the vinegar with sugar and salt on the stove once the sugar and salt are dissolved turn off the stove and drop in your thinly sliced onions. When the mixture comes to room temperature put into a container and refrigerate until taco day.
Take one or two RIPE avocados depending on size, I like Hass Avocados, put them into your food processor add a Tbl. of lime juice and whirl until smooth, then add more or less a 1/2 cup of heavy cream until the crema is the consistency of a ranch salad dressing it should taste more like avocado than cream, then salt and pepper to taste. You can add a little hot sauce or sour cream if you like, but I’d rather leave it out and those that want hot sauce or sour cream can simply put it straight on their own tacos.
This is a love it or hate it herb, I love it and simple torn leaves of this on my taco is a great addition! 1 bunch washed, shaken dry and chopped very coarsely will serve quit a few folks.
Thin sliced green cabbage adds such a wonderful crunch and freshness to tacos, I like it much better than lettuce which tends to get soggy so quickly. You won’t need much cabbage, and fortunately grocery stores often will offer it in a half head. Simply slice the cabbage as thin as you can and offer as a topping.
Pico de Gallo
Traditionally Pico de Gallo is a kinda rough chopped salsa of White Onion, Tomatoes, and Jalapenos, with cilantro and green onions. I have some spice & cilantro sensitive people in my tribe so I’m providing a less spicy version recipe. One White Onion finely chopped, two tomatoes seeded and chopped, 1 Poblano pepper seeded and chopped, Three green onions chopped finely, a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Replacing the Jalapeno with Poblano will cut down the heat factor, but still give you the colors and pepper flavors of Baja.
Everyone has their favorites and some make their own but for tacos I like the Pico Pica brand line of sauces they have both red and green and range from mild to hot, they’re a little chunkier than others and I like the color and flavor.
It is always nice to keep a couple limes in the fridge, wether to put in your beer or squeeze on your taco, Lime juice really brightens up a taco!
Traditional Fish tacos in Baja are battered and deep fried however you can get them grilled or seared and for at home I think pan seared is the most convenient. Living in the Pacific NW one of the best fish for fish tacos is fresh rockfish but you can use anything including shrimp, I know you can get tilapia readily however most of it is farm raised in PRC (peoples republic of China) and not fresh caught on our own coast. Once you get the fish filet home, check it for bones, remove any you find, then lightly season with salt and pepper, and sear on a medium high heat in a non stick pan until the fish is just cooked through. Once cooked slice into strips for tacos
There are so many options these days get what you want, for me I prefer a smaller corn tortilla wrapped in foil and heated on the grill or in the oven until I’m ready to assemble my taco.
I hope you all are having a great start to summer, and that there are a ton of tacos in your future!