Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tilapia Tacos

Right now I am far away from my home in Snohomish, WA, in a tiny Minnesota town called East Bethel.  I am here visiting one of my best friends Jess.  Jess and I met about 5 or so years ago on a parenting board that we were both members of.  I lived in Washington and she lived in Minnesota.  Still, somehow, we connected through the awesomeness that is the internet.  I'd like to think that when the internet was being developed that these kinds of friendships are what the powers that be had in mind.  Never would I have met Jess had it not been for the internet and I am so thankful for our friendship.  In those 5 years Jess and I have met one other time when her husband traveled to Seattle for his job.  Jess came along and we had a good time.  Now several years later we are even closer and I thought it was my turn to see her.  I'll bet you that as you are reading this we are having a blast.

The recipe I'm going to share with you is fitting because every time I eat it I think of Jess' husband Josh.  For a brief moment in time Josh graced us with his presence on said parenting forum.  I had shared this recipe there and he replied on that thread that tilapia were bottom feeders and a disgusting form of food for human consumption.  I beg to differ, because I think it is a scrumptious meal, but I can't eat tilapia tacos without thinking of him.  Thanks for that, Jess. 

Tilapia is a really cheap fish that is usually purchased previously frozen.  I found mine for less than $3.50 a pound at my local grocery store.  You could use any white firm fish in its place if you don't like tilapia or are having a hard time finding it.  I also may have ruined any chance of you ever trying tilapia due to the paragraph above and if that's the case it's a real shame, but you can use cod or halibut or whatever else you want in its place.

I think this may be my family's most favorite meal.  Every time I make it I get ooooohs and aaaaahhhhhs and everybody going back for seconds and thirds.  It's delicious, it tastes fresh and simple, truly highlighting the ingredients rather than masking them.  This meal comes together in about a half hour total but when I am feeling especially lazy I will buy prepared mango/peach salsa at the store and use a package of prepared cole slaw mix plus the lime juice. I have to be feeling really lazy though because the salsa and the coleslaw component can be made ahead so your hands on before dinner time is even less. Also, feel free to use canned peaches if mangoes or peaches are not currently in season.

Tilapia Tacos
mango or peach salsa
1 mango or several peaches (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced
4 ounces green chilies (a jalepeno could be used here)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
fish fillets
1 lb tilapia fillet
2 Tbs butter, melted
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
coleslaw topping
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
1 Tbs cilantro, chopped
3 Tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp lime juice
other ingredients
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese
8-12 taco shells

In a small bowl combine fruit, bell pepper, green onion, chilies, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper.  Toss gently. Place in fridge for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to combine.

In a medium bowl combine cabbage, cilantro, mayonnaise, and lime juice. Mix to combine.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.

Rinse and pat dry fish. Cut into 3/4 inch pieces and lay in a single layer in baking dish. Melt butter and distribute over fish.  Sprinkle with cumin, garlic and onion powder. Bake for 10 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.

For each taco place a small amount of cheese on the bottom of shell, top with tilapia pieces, coleslaw, and salsa

Servings: 4
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Time: 15 minutes
Oven Temperature: 450°F

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