Deconstructed Fish Taco giving a Mediterranean spin to a California classic
Chef Diane Scalia of Los Angeles’ Melting Pot Tours is known for putting a Southern California spin on Mediterranean cuisine. And this Deconstructed Fish Taco recipe is her way of taking California girl’s favorite, a fish taco, and turning it into something more resembling Spanish tapas.
What is tapas?
You might be wondering how a Southern California staple can become a Spanish snack. Well, to best answer, we should examine the concept of tapas. Tapas is a Spanish tradition, although there isn’t really much tradition to this tradition. That is, tapas varies depending on where you are in Spain, not to mention who you ask. But the basic concept of tapas is a grazing meal, as a mid-afternoon snack or perhaps with pre-dinner drinks.
You can, of course, make a meal out of tapas, as is done in many tapas-style, American restaurants by turning any meal into small bites meant for nibbling and sharing. And that is what Diane has done with her Deconstructed Fish Tacos.
Chef’s tips for a great fish taco
As we mentioned, Diane is a chef who knows her way around both the California fish taco and Mediterranean cuisine. She emphasizes that the key to this dish is quality ingredients. Use fresh citrus, sweet corn and, especially, a great, Spanish olive oil. Diane encourages you to experiment. Try the dish once or twice as written then try adding your own, aphrodisiac flair.
An aphrodisiac meal meant for sharing
As we mentioned, Diane’s Deconstructed Fish Taco recipe really takes traditional tacos and breaks them down into something to nibble and share. And that’s sexy. But the fact that it showcases not just one but many of our favorite aphrodisiacs makes this a meal you’re going to want to serve for a romantic dinner.
In addition to the fish, which is historically considered to be a food of the Goddess of Love Aphrodite, this taco recipe features a bright and refreshing citrus salsa, with just the right touch of chile pepper heat. (Don’t forget that citrus is one of our 10 Best Foods for Women’s Sexual Health.) So start planning your next date night to be a fish taco night!
- 1 lb freshest quality fish available;4 pieces about 1/2” thick, i.e., fillets of snapper, tilapia, swordfish, Mexican sea bass, black cod, salmon (please choose wild-caught rather than farmed) 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- zest and juice of 1 lime set juice aside
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 Anaheim chili; stemmed seeded, cored, quartered
- 1/2 in red onion cutrings or slices
- salt and pepper
- 1 in lime cut4 slices
- zest and segments of 3 limes segment limes over mixing bowl to catch juice
- Segments (and juice as with limes) of 3 oranges/tangerines/tangelos/grapefruit/mix
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 small red onion diced
- juice of 2 more limes
- 1 jalapeno chili pepper diced (seed if desired)
- 1 medium ripe tomato, seeded and diced
- 3 in basil leaves torntiny bits by hand (optional)
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- agave sweetener or honey, to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- in for the cold vegetable sticks tossedlime & cayenne:
- 3 in carrots peeled, cutsticks
- 1 large cucumber peeled, seeds trimmed out OR use English or Persian cucumbers
- 1 in small jicama peeled, sliced, cutsticks
- 1 small bunch broccoli flowerets only, blanched and cooled
- juice of 2 limes
- cayenne pepper or other favorite chili powder
- pinch of salt
- corn cut from 3 fresh cobs
- 1 small red onion diced
- 1 red bell pepper seeded, cored, diced
- 1 zucchini diced
- 1 15-oz can organic black beans rinsed and drained
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oi
- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves optional
- juice of one lime
- pinch of salt
- pinch of sugar
- 4 corn tortillas fried lightly in 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Coat bottom of shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
- Rinse and pat-dry fresh fish fillets, and place single-layer in dish.
- Rub with olive oil, and sprinkle with lime zest and cilantro, lay pieces of chili and onion alongside fillets.
- Let rest for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Drizzle reserved fresh lime juice over fish, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and top each piece with a lime slice.
- Bake until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, keep warm until serving.
- Combine first 9 ingredients in mixing bowl.
- Add sweetener, salt and pepper to taste.
- Let rest if possible, before serving or better, prepare several hours in advance.
- Refrigerate any unused portion. Yields about 1 1/2 cups.
- Place all vegetable sticks in large bowl.
- Toss with fresh lime juice and desired addition of pepper and pinch of salt.
- Taste and adjust seasoning for preference of heat.
- Preheat oven to 424F.
- Line large baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
- Toss vegetables and beans with remanining ingredients, and with rubber spatula, turn entire contents onto prepared baking sheet.
- Roast in 20 minute intervals, stirring occasionally, until corn is lightly browned and all vegetables are soft, about 40 minutes.
- Let cool slightly before serving.
- Place roasted corn garnish in center of plate, and top with fish and its roasted pepper, onion, and pan juices.
- Offer salsa in little ramekins on side of fish.
- Add a handful of the cold vegetables to one side, and finish plate with a double-folded warm corn tortilla.
- Enjoy meal with tortilla as a “scoop” for all components.
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