An Ode To The Fish Taco

An Ode To The Fish Taco - Panko Crusted Halibut, Cabbage, Fennel, Carrot Slaw, Fresh herbs, Baja White Sauce, Tortilla Strips

An Ode To The Fish Taco

Panko Crusted Fresh Halibut
Cabbage-Fennel-Carrot-Radish-Pepitas Slaw
Key Lime Serrano Cumin Vinaigrette

Pickled Red Onion, Fresh Herbs, Baja White Sauce
Mexican Lime, Tortilla Strips

Dear Fish Taco – you are irresistible. Your flavors conjure up spicy memories of our saucy adventures in Ensenada. Fresh-caught fried fish, crisp shredded cabbage, salsa, white sauce and a squeeze of lime on a corn tortilla. A fish taco and a margarita are una pareja celestial. Baja California is the birthplace of the fish taco and home to Hussong’s Cantina, where they claim to have invented the margarita in 1941.

Fast forward a several decades since your “invention” where I reimagine your essence. This is perfectly crusted local halibut topped with a cabbage slaw studded with organic rainbow carrots, peppery radish matchsticks, fennel slivers, and pumpkin seeds.  A zippy Mexican lime vinaigrette with sliced serranos, cumin, and fresh thyme dresses the slaw. Corn tortillas are sliced thin and fried for the topping. And it wouldn’t be a Baja taco without your salsa blanca – so here, tangy Mexican crema combined with mayonnaise and minced garlic provides a creamy balance to the crispy golden-brown fillets.

Fish Taco – you have aged gracefully. You are fabuloso! But we will still always crave your youthful side. See you in Baja!

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Fennel and Cabbage Slaw with Bacon, Egg, Peas

Fennel and Cabbage Slaw with Bacon, Egg, Peas

Warm Fennel, Cabbage, and Celery Slaw
with
Bacon Lardons, Poached Egg, Peas, and Scallions
Garlic Whole Grain Croutons

I just blinked an eye and my fennel bush grew four feet. And those umbels of petite yellow florets seemed to suddenly appear too. I didn’t want to harvest the bulbs – the plant is so pretty in the garden with its bright feathery leaves – but I did want to use those fronds and flowers in a dish. It turns out that my friends at Food Network are featuring all kinds of SLAW this week,  so I started with fennel and cabbage (from the farmers market) as a base and built this delightful salad from there.

Unlike most slaws, it is served slightly warm. And there are many flavors and textures in the dish that harmonize with each other. It is flexible too – going low-carb or gluten-free? Just leave out the croutons. Vegetarians can omit the bacon. Everyone can still be happy. Guaranteed.

Fennel Cabbage Slaw Recipe

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