This post is a (manual) migration from our earlier blog, February 7, 2008
At the risk of bursting the idealistic laid-back country bubble, yesterday was a busy day and I had exactly 40 minutes from the moment I brought the groceries in the door until I had to be leaving for an evening meeting, with dinner already pre-digesting. Since I normally really enjoy cooking and trying new recipes I’d forgotten how fast some home cooked and fresh dinners can still be.
On the menu: Fish Tacos with a side of steamed spinach. The fillet of snapper looked very good as I was early evening food shopping and that decided the menu right there. With a bag of small corn tortillas I took mental inventory of what I already had at home: lime check, cabbage check, sauce makings check, cilantro check. If I’d remembered to get fancy I would have added an avocado to the cart, but that’s for the 50 minute version I guess.
At home I began to heat the frying pan as I put groceries away. Tracy, no doubt seeing the flurry of activity, offered to rinse off and steam the spinach. I rinsed off the fish, patted dry with a paper towel and realized I had a few bones to deal with. Thanks to Jacques Pepin I’ve learned it’s much better to pull out the bones beforecooking, using needle-nosed pliers. Once done I covered one side with Prudhomme’s blackened fish spices, but salt (or garlic salt) and pepper has worked just as well in the past. That side went down in the frying pan and I sprinkled the top with more spices.
While the fish fried I sliced cabbage, chopped up a small handful of cilantro, and mixed up my mother’s lower-cal and healthy “secret sauce” of equal parts REAL mayonnaise and plain non-fat yoghurt. Part of that was reserved for the spinach. Then I cut off 1/3 of a lime and squeezed its juice into the remaining sauce, added salt, pepper, a dash of white vinegar and my new favorite sweetener, a squirt of agave nectar. A bit of sugar would do the same, but it takes longer to dissolve in the sauce and metabolizes much quicker than agave nectar which is a low GI (glycemic index) food. About this time Tracy offered to flip the fish over while I mixed the cabbage mixture with the sauce. If I’d had time I would have shredded up some carrot to the “slaw” as well.
While the slaw “marinated” I started the cast iron skillet on another burner and opened up the corn tortilla bag (flour tortillas work the same, depending on your preference). Once hot I drizzled a bit of olive oil in the pan and tossed in a tortilla. The spinach was starting to wilt just as the plates were going into a warmed oven. I flipped the tortilla over and turned off the fish and spinach burners and the oven. Plating up was a snap (no pun intended as any fish would do!): tortilla, part of the fish, cabbage slaw, with spinach on the side and a dollop of the original secret sauce.
I ate in good speed, but not messy and even had time to kiss Tracy and pat the dogs’ heads before I was out the door again. Whew. Unfortunately no time for a photo like so many other great food blogs. Maybe next time!