Fish Tacos

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This is a wonderful time of year for salt water fishing in New York’s waters. The hurricane season has passed, and the ocean has not yet become turbulent as it does in late winter. Fish is most plentiful now.

At the Saratoga Farmers’ Market we are lucky to have Pura Vida Fisheries from Long Island as one of our vendors. Every Saturday they deliver fresh fish caught in New York’s waters.

One of the more abundant and economical fish offered at this time of year is lingcod, a type of hake, and a less widely known member of the cod family. In New York commercial fishermen sustainably can catch more hake than cod and flounder.

Lingcod is lean and tends to be softer and moister than its cousin the cod. Sold at the farmers’ market in slender fillets, it cooks easily and quickly. The off-white color turns a bright white when cooked, adding a beautiful contrast to sautéed greens when plated. Lingcod is a versatile and inexpensive choice for anyone who likes a lean white fish like cod.

Lingcod’s characteristics also make it a fine choice to use in fish tacos, a wonderful and healthy variation of the popular Mexican dish. Serve Pura Vida Fisheries lingcod tacos with a fresh cabbage-apple salad and you will have an amazing, colorful and quickly prepared meal to present. Younger members of the family will not resist this way to enjoy fish.

Ingredients

(Note: Ingredients for this recipe available now at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market and are marked *.)

  • 1 pound Pura Vida Fisheries lingcod fillets *
  • 2 limes to make 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced *
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Jalapeno pepper * (from Gomez Veggie Ville) chopped , or dried red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 5 stalks of Asian greens, from Pleasant Valley Farm * or other vegetable vendors. (Or substitute a cup of shredded cabbage. *)
  • ½ red onion, chopped *
  • ¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped *
  • ½ cup of shredded cheese of choice * (Argyle Cheese Factory red pepper cheese curds do well.)
  • 4-6 soft corn tortillas or soft burrito shells (Order from Funky Fresh Foods. *)
  • 1 cup fresh salsa*, from Sheldon Farm or Kilpatrick Family Farms
  • ¼ cup Battenkill Valley Creamery half and half * (optional)

Directions

1. Place the fish in a glass dish and squeeze or pour ½ the lime over it. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, and 1 tablespoon of the oil, and optional jalapeno or red pepper. Season with salt and pepper; turn the fish in the marinade until evenly coated; and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

2. While fish marinates, coarsely chop the stalks and leaves of the Asian greens (or cabbage) into a bowl and add onion and cilantro. Drizzle with the remaining lime and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add salt and pepper, and then toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

3. Warm the tortillas in a microwave oven or over a warm pan on the stove. (Cover the tortillas with a wet paper towel to retain softness and warmth. Do this one tortilla at a time. Wrap the warm tortillas in a clean dishcloth and set aside while you prepare the fish.)

4. Grill the fish if you can because grilling is the healthiest cooking method and provides the best taste. Otherwise, cook the fish in a pan on the stove. In either case use a spatula to handle the fish, because it breaks apart easily. Cook only until fish is just done, white and flaky, about 3 minutes a side. (Note, if grilling lingcod, be sure to oil the grill grates to keep the fish from sticking. If using a pan, coat it with a bit of the marinade.

5. While the fish is cooking, quickly warm the salsa with the optional in the microwave. If you prefer to serve a leaner version of the recipe, leave out the cream.

6. Put the warmed tortilla or burrito shells on individual plates and divide fish between them. Divide the Asian greens and put over the fish on each plate. Shred the cheese over the tops and spoon the warmed salsa over all. To eat, fold in the edges of to encase the filling.

7. Serve the tacos with a cabbage-apple * salad dressed with vinaigrette, and optional toppings of sour cream or avocado.

A version of this recipe appears in this week’s edition of Saratoga Today.