If it sounds Weird, it probably Tastes really Good

Several summers ago, our family was in Colorado for a nephew's wedding and stopped by a couple of Physical Therapy schools for our son.  At one restaurant on 16th Street Mall in Denver, our son ordered fish tacos, something I had thought just sounded kind of weird.  For all of my foodie-ness over the past 10 or 12 years, I still had a few areas where my brain and taste buds needed to be stretched.  A few months later, I saw a re-run of Tyler's Ultimate on the Food Network Channel, where Tyler Florence was making "The Ultimate Fish Tacos" and I knew I needed to go for it.  The resulting mix of flavors in the recipe was a huge hit with the family.  It has become a regular in my cooking and hosting repertoire, and now has morphed into my own recipe with all of my tweaks and additions.  Broadening our taste buds can be scary, but the adventure of being willing to try new things and teaching our children to try new foods (or them teaching us!), is most always worthwhile.  For those who are a little afraid to try something new, I am including a "familiar" recipe for a strawberry rhubarb dessert bar as well, to top off your meal. 

We have started doing this fish taco meal outside with our outdoor fish/wings fryer (think turkey fryer with a shorter pan/basket).  It is a lot easier to deep fry the fish without all of the oil smell and smoke in the house.  Recently, we hosted a group of 25 young adults and had them each do their own breading, then frying of their portion...made it easy and was a fun "build your own" fish taco party.

 Saturday Suppers' Friday Fish Fry 

Saturday Suppers' Friday Fish Fry 

 

The Most Ultimate Fish Tacos

Recipe by Teresa Brubaker, based on recipe by Tyler Florence

Prep time:  30-40 min.    Cook time:  20 min.      Yield:  8-10 servings    Level:  Intermediate

Ingredients
 

2 pounds tilapia (skinned, boned and cleaned)  cut into 1 ounce strips--I get a great package                     of fresh at Costco  (orig. recipe uses mahi mahi)

2 C. all-purpose flour

3 eggs, lightly beaten

4 Tbsp. water

2 C. panko bread crumbs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for frying

1/2 head savoy cabbage, finely shredded--I use a bag of the Asian Cabbage salad from Costco,                   which already has the cilantro in it

1 bunch cilantro, leaves picked

1 bunch chives, chopped

3 limes, cut into wedges for garnish

Seasoned Sour Cream

1 C. sour cream

1 C. mayonnaise

2-3 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and de-ribbed (orig. recipe uses 3 chipotles in adobo + 2                       Tbsps of adobo sauce)

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 tsp. garlic powder (not in orig. recipe)

1/2 tsp. cumin (not in orig. recipe)

1/2 tsp. paprika (not in orig. recipe)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fruit Salsa

2-3 limes, peeled, pith removed and sectioned into supremes

2 mangoes and 2 plums, diced--I have used any combo of mangoes, plums, tomatoes, strawberries at times

1/2  red onion, diced  (orig. recipe also adds 4-5 radishes, diced)

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped (optional)--I have used dried at times, a couple                              shakes

1/4 C. extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Prepare the fish. Cut the pieces of fish into 1-ounce strips.  Set up a breading station of flour, lightly beaten eggs with water, and panko bread crumbs.  Season all with salt and pepper.  Dredge the pieces of fish in flour, egg, then bread crumbs. Once all the fish is breaded, deep-fry in small batches in (375 degree F) oil. Drain on newspaper topped with paper towels, and season with salt.  Keep warm until ready to serve.

Prepare the seasoned sour cream: Put the jalapeno peppers and lemon juice in a blender and puree until smooth.  Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic powder, cumin, and paprika and continue to process until the mixture is consistent and creamy.  Season with salt and pepper, then refrigerate until ready to use.

Prepare the fruit salsa:  Remove the peel and pith from the limes, cut between the membranes to remove the segments, then put these "supremes" into a bowl and squeeze over the juice from the membranes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix.  Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.  If you want the salsa be smoother, put in a food processor and puree to desired consistency.

To serve, set up tacos "family-style". Serve on either hardshell corn tortilla shells, tostada shells, or flour tortilla shells, warmed or toasted.

 

 

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Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars

Recipe by Cooking Classy, modifications by Teresa Brubaker

Yield:  54  2-inch bars

Ingredients

Crumb layers

2  2/3 C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2  2/3 C. rolled old fashioned oats

1 C. packed light brown sugar

1 C. granulated sugar

1  1/2 C. salted butter, melted

4 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Filling

3  1/2 C. hulled and diced strawberries

3 C. 1/4-inch thick diced rhubarb

2  Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2/3 C. granulated sugar

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

 

Directions

For the crumb layer:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13x18" 1/2 Baker's Sheet with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper and spray parchment.  In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds.  Add in oats, brown sugar and granulated sugar; whisk to blend, breaking up small clumps of brown sugar. Whisk vanilla in melted butter, then pour melted butter over oat mixture. Stir with a spatula until mixture is evenly moistened. Press 2/3 of the mixture into prepared baking sheet, set aside remaining 1/3.

For the filling:  Add diced strawberries and rhubarb to a medium bowl.  Toss with lemon juice.  In a small mixing bowl whisk together sugar and cornstarch.  Pour sugar mixture over strawberry mixture and toss to coat.  Pour strawberry mixture over bottom crumb layer in baking sheet.  Evenly sprinkle remaining 1/3 crumb mixture over top.  Bake in preheated oven until top is golden brown, crisp and filling is bubbling, about 45-50 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack until warm then cut into  2-inch squares.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.  (this is also great with a rhubarb sauce over the top...recipes on Google.  :) )