Friendly Fish Tacos In The Mean Meat Shortage

Friendly Fish Tacos In The Mean Meat Shortage

With the meat shortage making it more challenging to plan meals around beef, pork, and chicken, pescatarian and vegetarian recipes will help see us through on Meatless Monday and beyond!  Click to skip to the recipe

 

Fish in a soft tortilla with cilantro, crema, tomato, lettuce

With a nod towards Meatless Mondays, on the heels of Cinco de Mayo, and with heartfelt concern for our meat supply chain, I decided to make a pescatarian recipe for dinner this week: Fish Tacos! In a word they were delicious and in a second word… this dish is thought-provoking!

We live in a beef crazed society. Meat and poultry are the menu planner’s mantra. Wendy’s made national news this week when they ran short of meat for their Triple-Decker cheeseburger. This led to protests and calls for, “Where’s the beef?!”

This could spark a whole new movement in preparing satisfying pescatarian and vegetarian recipes that will appease our need for meat and potatoes.

Since we’ve been staying at home, our consumption of fast food burgers has declined precipitously. Hubby’s down more than a few pounds in just a couple of weeks!

His recent bloodwork showed a definite improvement from past years and it got me thinking: Could this upturn in his health have something to do with fast-food distancing?

If this is my new working theory, in how many weekly meals can I substitute fish or veggies for beef, pork, or chicken? With the meat shortage increasing steadily and meat, pork, and chicken being rationed in grocery stores around the country, finding meat alternatives in the midst of the shortage is my new challenge.

I think this might be a prudent time to visit no meat main courses, which is why I started with fish. This recipe is based on my Grilled Guac recipe from my cookbook, “Sunday Best Dishes”. That recipe grills all the veggies before you mush them into guac. 

I used that same technique to grill everything from the fish to the lettuce for these tacos and the grilling gave a smokey, lusty taste to the tacos. I used a grill pan indoors and the whole meal took about a millisecond to prepare.

No ground beef, pork, or chicken required to make a satisfying meal!

You can easily share your meatless main meals with all the readers here. We’re all into experimentation these days!

Grilled Fish Tacos

Serves:

Time:

2

30-Minute Cuisine

vegetarian-tacos-meat-shortage 3

Ingredients

I made these for hubby and me, and two large, open-face tacos were plenty. You can adjust the recipe to feed more, by just increasing the ingredients. I found blood oranges at the market and prepared the marinade with this juice, but good old lemons or limes will do just fine.

For filling:

2 (6 to 8-ounce) sea bass fillets (substitute with and white, flaky fish)

1 blood orange (substitute with lime or lemon)

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced, about 3 tablespoons

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

For sauce:

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

¼ cup prepared salsa

Juice of ½ lime, about 1 tablespoon (reserve the other half for seasoning the taco)

2 to 4 dashes hot pepper sauce

For tacos:

1 avocado, cut in half, pit removed

1 tomato, cut in half

½ romaine lettuce head

1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, cut in half, seeded, and deveined

2 green onions

2 (8 or 10-inch tortillas)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Veggies on grill pan with fish

Place the fish into a dish. Squeeze the juice from the blood orange over the fish. Add the garlic and olive oil. Season with some of the salt and pepper. Turn the fillets in the marinade to coat and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, salsa, lime juice, and as much hot pepper sauce as you like. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle some additional olive oil onto the pan. Place the fish, flesh side down onto the grill pan. Place the avocado, cut side down onto the grill pan. Do the same with the tomato, lettuce, jalapenos, and green onion.

Grill the veggies, turning once just until you get a nice char on each piece. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the veggies to a cutting board.

Grill the fish, turning once until it is nicely marked on both sides and cooked to medium-rare in the center. This will take a total of about 8 minutes per inch of thickness of the fillets.

Transfer the fish to your cutting board. Place the tortillas onto the grill pan and grill for several seconds, turn and grill for several seconds more. The tortilla should be warm and pliable. Transfer each tortilla to a plate.

Chop the lettuce. Place half of the lettuce onto each tortilla. Cut the fish into chunks and place on top of the lettuce. Do the same with the tomato, avocado, jalapeno, and onions. Top the taco with a generous dollop of sauce. Garnish with cilantro and an extra squeeze of lime juice.

My Taste of Italy!

My Taste of Italy!

I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Italy. We visited Sorento and the Amalfi coast and then motored our way north to the region of Tuscany. Most of us on the trip took in the sights and attractions, but I focused on the food and wine.

We interspersed multi-course meals in Michelin star restaurants with neighborhood trattoria’s (many of which offered menus featuring pages of pizza and pasta choices). I came away with three favorite dishes.

At the Don Alfonso 1890 Ristorante in Sorrento you can choose from several pre-set menus, starting with three courses and adding up to an astounding seven! My favorite course was dessert, a large platter filled with bite size pastries from truffles to cookies to nut-coated cake sticks, all set atop a smoke filled background. It was something! I’m posting a video to my social media on this one!

Just a quick nine minute helicopter ride from Sorrento you are transported to cliff side gardens and vast views of the Amalfi coast in the quaint city of Ravello. The Belmond restaurant in the Hotel Caruso sits at the top of the village and offers an outstanding dining experience. The menu features fresh Mediterranean cuisine, starring seafood from the coastal waters.

My favorite dish was an elegantly presented tuna tartar infused with fresh peaches. It was almost too gorgeous to eat, but I took one for our team and devoured every bite.

My final meal was a delicious lunch at Osteria di Passigno in Tuscany. The restaurant sits next to an ancient abbey house where a few monks still reside. The fields are filled with grape vines. A few varieties of wine are grown here, but the pride and joy is the Chianti Classico, a designation of wine that is solely made in this area.

After a quick tour of the winery and gardens, we were treated to a multi course meal that started with an extra virgin olive oil tasting and finished with pear-filled puff pastry drizzled with locally grown honey.
My favorite dish was a brothy fish stew accented with shaved vegetables that rose like stalagmites from the center of the dish.

I arrived home after a lengthy day (I mean 24 hours) of traveling. After a day of emptying suitcases, petting the parent-deprived dog and checking in with pals, I found myself in the kitchen. Inspired as I was, my first dish was neither pasta nor pizza. Instead, it was the delicious Mediterranean inspired fish dishes that won me over.

It took only a quick trip to the market to come up with the ingredients for one of my favorite dishes from SUNDAY BEST DISHES, Puttanesca Poached Cod. I share it with you, not only because it is a simple, yummy dish, but also, because it might inspire you to make Italy a destination in your travel plans.

 

Puttanesca Poached Cod

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 (7-ounce) tin flat fillets of anchovies packed in oil

1 (14-ounce) can marinated artichoke hearts, about 8 to 10 medium size, sliced

1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced, about 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons capers, drained

1 cup red wine

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

4 (4 to 6-ounce) fillets of cod

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

Lemon wedges

Place the olive oil and anchovies (with oil) in a skillet over low heat. Cook until the anchovies begin to melt. Increase the heat to medium high. Add the artichoke hearts, olives, garlic and capers. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the wine. Cook until most of the liquid disappears, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the sauce reduces by half, about 10 to 15 minutes. Place the cod into the sauce. Cover the skillet with a lid. Cook until the cod just begins to flake, about 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Season the top of the fillets with salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of lemon juice. Serve the cod surrounded by the sauce and lemon wedges.

 

 

An Italian Tradition this Xmas Eve

An Italian Tradition this Xmas Eve

It’s my FAVORITE day of the year! Christmas Eve! I’ve always loved the Italian cooking tradition of the seven fish courses for Christmas Eve dinner. I’ve wrapped the tradition all into one….a one pot meal with my recipe for Fast and Furious Fish Stew.

My book, SUNDAY BEST DISHES has a treasure trove of recipes for seafood lovers. With this DISH OF THE DAY or any fish dish, I highly recommend a crisp Italian white wine pairing. Chardonnay, Moscato d’Asti, Sauvignon blanc, Pinot grigio or Soave; a few of these wines come from Venice, and are derived from the lemony garganega grape. So, so good for a special evening like tonight!

If you hail from Southern Italy, where the Vigilia di Natale and its savory fish courses this time of year originated, then you’ll appreciate salted cod fish in this stew. No matter where you’re from, tonight’s as good as it gets for celebrating all our blessings in this life. Sleep well, and awake to a beautiful Christmas Day, my friends.

Fast and Furious Fish Stew
MAKES 6 SERVINGS

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced, about 1 ½ cups
4 medium garlic cloves, minced, about 2 teaspoons
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 quart chicken broth
2 (8-ounce bottles) clam juice
1 ½ cups dry white wine
1 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Cajon Seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 or more drops hot pepper sauce
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound clams
1 pound mussels
1 pound large uncooked fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 20)
1 pound sea scallops
1 pound fresh fish fillets, like snapper or cod, cut into 1-inch cubes

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the pot until just soft, about 8 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, chicken broth, clam juice and white wine. Bring the sauce to a boil. Stir in the chili sauce, tomato paste, Cajun seasoning, fresh herbs and hot pepper sauce. Reduce the heat to medium. Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the clams and mussels into the sauce. Simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the shrimp and the scallops to the sauce. Simmer for 3 minutes more.

Add the fish to the sauce. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes more, or until the fish is opaque and the mussels and clams have opened.

Serve the stew in bowls with crusty bread to slurp up the extra sauce.