Farmers’ Markets have the awesome power to inspire. As you wade through the crowds, the aroma of sun-kissed strawberries brings to mind a fragrant crumble while gleaming avocados cry out to be turned into guacamole.
When Christa and I hit the farmers’ market last Saturday, we picked out fresh corn ears still tucked in their husks and avocados, cilantro and fresh tomatoes. Our mission: fish tacos. Our super-charged team of two whisked together guacamole, fresh corn salsa, homemade tortillas, and pan-fried fish for what turned out to be a perfect summer dinner. Christa became an expert tortilla-maker in no time (check out the picture at right) and we savored those fresh, doughy tortillas.
Last night, I reworked the fish recipe again and coated the dover sole in a mixture of cornmeal, salt and pepper and pan-fried the fillets in their entirety. I put the boyfriend to work on the tortillas (he’s a quick learner!) and recreated the corn salsa.
If you want to make your own homemade tortillas (which are faaar better than any you could buy in a store), I would recommend that you get this tortilla press. You don’t need anything fancy — just a cast iron one which allows you to press the moist balls of masa into tortillas. You can find masa harina at many supermarkets these days in the “ethnic foods” section or you can order online at this website (MexGrocer).
Fish Tacos with Homemade Tortillas
2 cups masa harina
1 1/4 cup water
1 pound dover sole fillets (you can also use Red Snapper)
1/2 cup coarse cornmeal
dash of salt and pepper
1. To make the tortillas, combine the water and masa harina until you have a moist crumbly mixture that rolls up into your hands into a nice, neat ball.
2. Prepare the tortilla press by folding a sheet of waxer paper in two and placing it between the top and the bottom parts of the press.
3. Roll a golf ball-sized mass of masa harina mix into a neat round ball and place in the wax paper in the press. Close the press and use the lever to squish the ball. Carefully peel the tortilla off from the wax paper and place on a plate. Repeat until your masa harina is finished.
4. Fire up the griddle (or use a large sautee pan) and wait until it is quite hot. Spray with cooking oil (like Pam) and place the tortillas on the griddle. Cook until they turn golden brown and flip.
To make the fish:
1. Mixture together the cornmeal, salt and pepper in a plate or shallow tupperware container. Coat the fish in the cornmeal mixture and cook in about 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil until the fish turns white. Be careful not to overcook! When the fish is done, put on a plate.
2 ears of corn
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3-4 small tomatoes, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
salt, pepper, Tapatio sauce
1. Using a large knife, hold one corn ear over a large plate and carefully slice off the kernels. Repeat with the other ear and place the kernels in a sauce pan with 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil. Cook the kernels until they turn a brighter color and are softer.
2. Combine the cilantro, onion, tomatoes in a medium-sized bowl. Add the cooked corn kernels and season with salt, pepper and Tapatio sauce.
To assemble the fish tacos, top half a fillet of cooked fish on top of a tortilla and top with the corn salsa. Yum!