Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fish Tacos

From the NYTIMES

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro

1 jalapeño, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut crosswise into half moons (optional)

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

2 limes, 1 halved and 1 cut into wedges

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon canned chipotle pepper, finely chopped (optional)

1/2 cup flour, preferably Wondra or other fine-milled flour

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup peanut oil, plus a splash more for greasing pan

Pat of butter

1 pound flounder or any firm white-fleshed fish, cut across the grain of the flesh into strips about 1/2 inch wide by 3 inches long

12 6-inch fresh corn tortillas

2 cups shredded green cabbage

A saucy hot sauce, like Tapatio or Frank’s.

1. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and jalapeño (if using).

2. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise and sour cream until combined. Season to taste with the halved lime, salt, pepper and chipotle (if using).

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, chili powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons each of kosher salt and black pepper. Pour the milk into another medium bowl, and place the fish into it.

4. Pour 1/4 cup of the peanut oil into a 12-inch frying pan and place over medium-high heat until it shimmers and is about to smoke. Remove the fish pieces from the milk bath and dredge them lightly through the flour mixture, shaking to remove excess. Add the butter to the pan. Place some fish pieces in the oil, without crowding them, and cook until deep golden brown on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn carefully and cook for 1 minute more. Remove to a warmed, paper-towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining fish.

5. Meanwhile, lightly grease a skillet with a drizzle of oil and set over medium heat. Heat the tortillas, one or two at a time, until they are soft and hot. Keep them warm, wrapped in a dish towel.

6. Fill each tortilla with 3 pieces of fish, browned side up, followed by tomato salsa and a pinch of cabbage. Drizzle with the cream sauce. Serve 2 to 3 tacos per person, with lime wedges and hot sauce on the side. Serves 4 to 6.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Gai Pad Krapow

- serves 2 -
Ideally, this dish should be made with holy basil, which is not to be confused with sweet basil or even the purple-stemmed Thai basil. You'll know it by its scalloped edges and clove-like aroma, but you may have a hard time tracking it down. Regular sweet basil tastes just as good in this dish, if not quite so "authentic."
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Chilis, finely chopped (use 2-3 serrano peppers for a very mild heat; 2-3 bird's eye chilis for a medium heat)
1 large shallot, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 pound green beans, trimmed, chopped in 1¼-inch lengths
1/2 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 bunch basil, leaves only
To serve:
Boiled rice
Fried eggs, 1 per person (optional)
Nam pla prik (recipe follows) or fresh lime wedges
1. Heat the oil over high heat in a wok or large frying pan. When you can see waves forming in the hot oil, add the chilis, shallots, and garlic and stir-fry until golden, about 30 seconds.

2. Add the green beans and stir-fry until cooked but still crunchy, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the ground chicken, using a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the meat into small pieces. Stir-fry until chicken is cooked through.

4. Add the fish sauce and sugar to the pan, and stir to distribute. Taste, and add more fish sauce or sugar if desired.

5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the basil leaves and stir-fry until completely wilted. Remove from heat.
6. Serve with boiled rice, fried egg (optional), and nam pla prik or lime wedges.

Nam Pla Prik (Chili Fish Sauce)

No Thai table is complete without this all-purpose condiment. Drizzle it over rice and noodles, pour it over grilled meats and seafood, or use it in place of plain fish sauce in recipes.
Fish sauce
Fresh lime juice
Chilis, finely chopped
Shallots, finely sliced
Mix fish sauce and lime juice to taste (a typical ratio is 3-4 parts fish sauce to 1 part lime juice) and pour over chilis and shallots. Consume immediately, or pour into a clean jar and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.


serves 4

1 1/2 pounds of fish fillets. Good choices are halibut, cod, pollock or blue snapper
Old Bay seasoning
1/2 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko
olive oil

for special sauce -
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
squeeze of lemon juice

4 sandwich buns, sliced
4 slices of American cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.

Cut the fish into 4 pieces and generously sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning. Set aside. Place flour, egg , and panko in three separate shallow dishes. Dip each piece of fish first in the flour, then the egg, and lastly the panko. Place the coated fish on a tray to let the coating set for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the heated baking sheet. Place the panko-coated fish on the sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for 16 - 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and are lightly browned. Place the bun halves on another baking sheet and put a slice of American cheese on each of the bottom bun halves. During the last minute or 2 of baking time, place the buns in the oven to warm and just melt the cheese. Remove fish and buns from oven.

To make special sauce, combine mayonnaise, pickle relish and lemon juice in a small bowl; set aside.

To assemble sandwiches, place a piece of the fish on top of the bottom bun with the melted cheese. Slather the top of each bun half with the special sauce and place on top of the fish. Enjoy!