Fish tacos

fish-tacosAs a student living in Mexico back in 1999, I recall how delicious the fresh salsas were and how they could transform the simplest dish.

This recipe is adapted from one made by my host mother. Rather than serving it with heavy fried food it works beautifully with soft corn tortillas, thick Greek yoghurt and a nice light white fish.

Health benefits

Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, a pigment that gives them their vibrant red colour. Lycopene is rich in antioxidants, supports good heart health, has been credited for fighting against a range of cancers including breast, colon and lung cancer, is beneficial for those suffering asthma and has been linked to stroke prevention.

Capsicum/bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C (most highly concentrated in the red variety). They have been linked to helping reduce bad cholesterol, manage diabetes and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities that have been credited for their cancer fighting properties.

Garlic and onions are great for the immune system, limes are wonderfully alkalising and good for digestion and chillies are said to help fight infection and also reduce inflammation.

White fish provides the body with good quality lean protein while avocado compliments by providing a good dose of healthy fats. Spread some good quality thick greek yoghurt on your tortillas and you’ll also give your body a serve of nourishing probiotics.

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless firm white fish fillets such as sea bass, flathead or other similar fish of your choice – approx 800g / 1.75 lb
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Large handful coriander/cilantro leaves around 15g / 5oz
  • 1 cup good quality natural greek yoghurt
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 capsicum/(bell) pepper -I prefer to use yellow or green but red will work fine too
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 medium sized red chilli, seeds removed
  • Half a red onion
  • 1 clove garlic/ 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1.5 tbs olive oil
  • 50g/1.75 oz pitted black olives (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

For the Salsa

  1. If using a food processor, add the onion, garlic and chilli until finely chopped then add the tomatoes for a few seconds until they’re reduced to small chunks but ideally not completely smooth. Remove and drain using a sieve until the excess moisture is removed. Alternatively you can finely chop all the ingredients by hand, again drain using a sieve to remove excess liquid.
  2. Chop the avocado into small chunks and add to the mixture
  3. Stir in the lime juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of cumin and season with salt and pepper
  4. Chop two thirds of the coriander/cilatro leaves (approx 10g or a third of an ounce) and mix through

The Fish & Corn Tortillas

  1. Heat the BBQ to a medium to high heat. If you prefer you can cook the fish in a frying pan and the tortillas in a char grill pan or according to packet instructions.
  2. Sprinkle each of the fish fillets with a little cumin, season with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil
  3. Brush the tortillas with on each side with the remaining olive oil
  4. Cook the fish on the BBQ or in the frying pan for a couple of minutes each side and the tortillas on the BBQ or char grill pan for around a minute each side or until they just start to turn brown

To Serve

Enjoy the tortillas spread with plenty of natural Greek yoghurt, stuffed with the fish and salsa and topped with black olives and the remaining coriander/cilantro leaves.

For those on a paleo/low carb dinner, simply omit the tortillas.

Vary the salsa by adding fresh corn (from a single corn cob) or add extra chilli if you like things hot

Serves 4

 

Coconut & Lime Ceviche

IMG_7139
Ceviche is a deliciously light dish that tastes amazing and is wonderfully quick and simple to make.

Made by marinating white fish in lime juice and coconut milk, the lime juice cures the fish so that there’s no need to cook (hence no nasty fish smells in your kitchen).

Best enjoyed in summer – when limes are tasty, abundant and cheap – limes have many health promoting properties. They are rich in vitamin C and are excellent for digestive function, thanks to their natural acidity which stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes. Limes are high in flavonoids, best known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – the latter making them good for arthritis sufferers. Limes are also said to be good for the skin (especially the oil in the skin, which is present in this dish thanks to the zest) and help regulate sugar absorption in diabetic patients.

Coconuts are a superfood of the moment and although the milk can be a little on the heavy side, you don’t actually consume a great deal in this recipe as you discard much of the marinate.

The cucumber is light and alkalising, the chilli is also good for digestion and the coriander/cilantro contains helps the body reduce swelling and inflammation.

Make sure you choose a good quality firm white fish for this dish – if unsure check with your fish monger.

Ingredients

  • Approx 500g / 18oz (2 -3 fillets) of firm white fish
  • 4 eschalots (Australia) /scallions (US) /spring onions (UK)
  • half a bunch of fresh coriander/cilantro leaves
  • quarter bunch fresh mint leaves
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 150ml/ 5fl oz coconut milk
  • 1 long red chilli (deseeded)
  • half a lebanese cucumber
  • Salt and pepper to serve
  • Extra lime wedges to serve

Method

  1. Finely zest the lime using a grater, then juice the limes and combine with the coconut milk
  2. Remove the blood line from the fish and cut into small cubes just under 1cm each side or about a third of an inch
  3. Place the fish into a glass or non-reactive bowl, cover with the lime and coconut milk marinade and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This process will cure the fish. I like to leave mine for an hour but ideally you should not leave for longer than 2 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, peel the cucumber, remove the inner part and finely chop the flesh then place in a sieve over a bowl and lightly salt – this will leach the excess water from the cucumber
  5. Remove the seeds from the chili (i like to use gloves for this so as not to burn my hands), wash and finely chop
  6. Finely chop the white and light green part of the spring onion
  7. Once the fish has cured, remove from the fridge and drain ensuring that you keep the coconut and lime marinade
  8. Mix the chilli, cucumber, spring onion, coriander and mint leaves through the fish and top with a little of the coconut and lime marinade (although not too much, you don’t want it to be soupy)
  9. Serve with fresh lime wedges

Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main dish.

Moroccan Fish with Preserved Lemon and Dukkah

baked-white-fish-dukkah-preserved-lemon
I’m loving Moroccan flavours with fish at the moment, they transform a light and healthy meal into a dish with the most amazing flavour.

Preserved lemons are used commonly in Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine, made by rubbing the rinds of whole lemons with salt and leaving them to pickle in brine, lemon juice and spices for at least several weeks (often a lot longer).

I recently ran out of my own home made preserved lemons so bought some handmade ones from a good providore. They weren’t cheap but tasted excellent so were definitely worth the investment, plus you really don’t need to use a great deal to transform the flavour of any dish. Try to avoid buying mass produced preserved lemons from the supermarket as they just won’t taste the same.

Dukkah is also used commonly in Moroccan and Middle Eastern dishes and is made by grinding a variety nuts such as hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds with sesame, cumin and coriander seeds. I’ll be posting a Dukkah recipe shortly but if you don’t have time to make your own, there are plenty of good options available from quality health food stores. I’ve tried the About Life dukkah made here in Sydney and it’s excellent.

Ingredients

  • 2 x fillets of your favourite white fish approx 180-200g / 6.5-7 oz
  • 1 x fresh lemon
  • Roughly a quarter or 2 tablespoons of preserved lemon
  • 4 tablespoons dukkah
  • A large sheet of aluminium foil roughly 40cm/6 inches

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Lay out 2 squares of aluminium foil roughly 20cm / 8 inch each side
  3. Slice the fresh lemon into thin slices and place half on each of the foil squares to create a bed for each of the fish fillets
  4. Place the fish on top of the lemon beds and fold the foil back on itself to create a parcel for each of the fillets
  5. Roast for approximately 15 – 20 minutes (this works for fillets approximately 2.5cm /1 inch thick so adjust according to the thickness of your fillets and how well you like your fish cooked)
  6. Remove from the oven and test to ensure the fish is cooked to your liking. If not return to the oven for a couple of minutes
  7. Once cooked, remove the fish and lemon from the foil and place on two plates, drizzling any excess lemon juice from the foil parcels over the fish
  8. Chop the preserved lemon into small pieces and arrange over the fish then sprinkle with the dukkah and serve

Serves 2

This dish goes beautifully with my rocket and cauliflower cous cous salad.