Colorado Fish Tacos–A Touch of Eclectic Culture!

Fish tacos have to be one of my all-time favorites! Living on Colorado’s Front Range, one is exposed to fish tacos everywhere. I must admit, when I first moved there and heard about these incredible tacos, I was a bit put off. It took me a couple of years to warm up to trying fish in taco shells. I’m glad I finally came to my senses and tried them!

Throughout the Front Range one can find an eclectic eatery called Wahoo’s Fish Taco. These restaurants have an interesting story and a unique fusion of Mexican, Brazilian, and Asian foods, combined with an eccentric surfing culture. You can read more about the three Asian brothers from San Paolo who created this awesome dynasty in California, Colorado, Texas, and Hawaii on their corporate website. But, on to my story!

When I accepted a professorate position at a regional university in central Missouri, little did I know the withdrawal problems I would have by not getting my regular fix of Wahoo’s fish tacos! There’s one local Mexican joint (sorry, no website) in town that I frequent, which serves fish tacos, but still, just not the same! So a couple of years ago out of shear desperation, I tried my hand at creating my own version. I’m fairly happy with the final dish, although since it’s impossible to get the correct fish (Wahoo or Mahi-Mahi) in this one-horse town, I had to settle with tilapia.

This affair with fish tacos reminds me of a similar story from one of my PhD colleagues from Colorado State University, and her quest for Mexican food in her new home in England. You can read her story (and great recipes) on Laura’s blog. Meanwhile, here’s my version of fish tacos. Enjoy!

Tacos de los Pescados de Colorado
(Colorado Fish Tacos)
Recipe by Terry Ownby, © 2007.

Tacos:
•    1 pound white flaky fish—Tilapia (wahoo or mahi-mahi if available)
•    1 lime, quartered
•    ¼—½ jalapeno, finely diced (more if you like spicy hot)
•    ¼ chopped cilantro leaves (fresh)
•    shredded white cabbage
•    shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese
•    corn tortillas

Marinade for Fish:
•    Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Packet
•    ¼ finely diced jalapeno
•    ½ chopped green onion
•    coarsely chopped cilantro
•    1 garlic glove finely diced
•    red onion, finely chopped to taste
•    ½ lime, juiced

Pico de Gallo:
•    diced Roma tomato
•    a few slices of red onion, diced
•    cilantro, chopped
•    ¼ finely diced jalapeno
•    ½ lime, juiced

Place fish in a medium size dish or mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, combine Old El Paso Taco Seasoning with water (amount indicated on package). Add remaining marinade ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture slightly thickens. Remove from heat and pour over fish. Let marinate for 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove fish from the marinade and cook. This could be on a BBQ grill, oven, or in a lightly oiled (or non-stick spray) skillet. Cook until opaque white and fish easily flakes with a fork. Fish should flake into chunks.

Heat the corn tortillas. Steaming is great and easy. Take a 10” skillet half filled with water and bring to a boil. Place a metal splatter screen (used to keep grease from splattering while frying) on the skillet. Place tortilla on screen and steam for a few moments. Using tongs or a fork, flip tortilla and steam other side until soft. Remove.

Place fish chunks and flakes on tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese, then cabbage, followed by Pico de Gallo. Give a fresh squeeze of lime, fold and bon appetite!

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